MABEL BAxRNES-QRUNDY has rapidly come to the
front as one of our most successful novelists. Her stories
excel in wit, humour, observation and characterisation.
The complete and uniform edition of her novels, as under,
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Her Mad Month
An Undressed Heroine
Marguerite's Wonderful Year
Hilary on Her Own
Two in a Tent— and Jane
The Third Miss Wenderby
Patricia Plays a Part
Candytuft~I mean Veronica
The Vacillations of Hazel
London : HUTCHINSON & CO., Paternoster Row. E.C.4
The Price of Power
^ein^ Chapters from the Secret History
of the Imperial Court of Russia :: iDy
William le Queux ^h %h ^
LONDON: HURST AND BLACKETT, LTD.
PATERNOSTER HOUSE, E.G.
(( APR 2 3 1968 ,.
X^l-^ls-rr Of TO^S^^'
THE PRICE OF POWER
" M'siEUR Colin Trewinnard ? "
" That is my name, Captain Stoyanovitch," I replied
in surprise. " You know it quite well."
" The usual formality, 7non cher ami I "
And the tall, handsome equerry in the white uniform
of the Imperial Guard laughed lightly, clicked his heels
together, and handed me a letter wluch I saw bore the
Imperial cipher upon its black seal.
" From His Imperial Majesty the Emperor," he
added in Russian.
I held my breath. Had the blow fallen ?
With eager, trembling fingers I tore open the envelope
and found therein a note in French, merely the words :
" His Imperial Majesty the Emperor commands Mr.
Colin Trewinnard to private audience to-day at 3.30 p.m.
St. Petersburg, June 28th."
" Very well," I managed to reply. " Tell Colonel
Polivanoff that — that I shall be there. Have a
cigarette ? " and I handed him the silver box of Bog-
danoffs which were the common property of the staff
of the Embassy.
8 THE PRICE OF POWER
Having flung himself into a big eas3^-chair, he stretched
out his long legs and lit up.
" Well," I said, leaning against the edge of the
writing-table, " I suppose the Emperor returned from
Odessa early this morning — eh ? '*
" Yes," replied the elegant officer, in English.
" Thank Heaven, the journey is at last over. Ah !
what a tour of the Empire ! At Orel we held the
great review, then on to Saratov, where there were
more manoeuvres and a review. Afterwards we went
down the Volga to Astrakhan to unveil the new statue
to Peter the Great ; then Kertch, more manoeuvres,
and into the Crimea for a v/eek's rest. Afterwards
across to Odessa, and then, by a three nights' journey,
back here to Petersburg. Faugh ! How we all hate
that armoured train ! "
" But it is surely highly necessary, my dear Stoyano-
vitch," I said. " With this abominable wave of
anarchism which has spread over Europe, it behoves
the Secret Police to take every precaution for His
Majesty's safety ! "
** Ah 1 my dear friend," laughed the equerry. " I
tell you it is not at all pleasant to travel when one
expects every moment that the train will be blown up.
One's sleeping berth, though covered with a down
quilt, is but a bed of torture in such conditions."
" Yes," I said. " But His Majesty — how does he
bear it ? "
" The Emperor has nerves of iron. He is the least
concerned of any of us. But, mon Dieu ! I would
not be in his shoes for the wealth of all the Russias."
" What — more conspiracies ? " I exclaimed.
" Conspiracies ! " sighed the Captain. " Mon Dieu I
A fresh one is discovered by the political police every
week. Only the day before the Emperor left for the
country he found among the Ministers' daily reports
THE PRICE OF POWER 9
upon the table in his private cabinet an anonymous
letter telling him that he will meet with a tragic end
on the sixth of the present month. How this letter
got there nobody knows. His Majesty is seldom out
of temper, but I never saw him so furiously angry
" It is unfortunate," I said. " Apparently he cannot
trust even his immediate entourage.'*
" Exactly," answered the dark-haired handsome
man. " The constant reports of General Markoff
regarding the revolutionists must be most alarming.
And yet he preserves an outward calm that is truly
remarkable. But, by the way," he added, " His
Majesty, before I left the Palace with that letter, sum-
moned me and gave me a message for you — a verbal
" Oh ! What was that ? "
" He told me to say that he sent to you a word — let
me see, I wrote it down lest I should forget," and pulling
down his left shirt cuff, he spelt :
" Thank you," I replied briefly.
" What does it mean ? Is 'it some password ? "
Ivan Stoyanovitch asked with considerable curiosity.
" That's scarcely a fair question," I said in rebuke.
" Ah ! of course," he replied, with a touch of sarcasm.
" I ought not to have asked you. Pardon me, my
friend. I forgot that you enjoy His Majesty's con-
fidence — that ' '
" Not at all," I protested. " I am but a humble
attache of a foreign Embassy. It is not likely that I
am entrusted with the secrets of Russia."
" Not with those of Russia, but those of the Emperor
personally. Dachkoff was discussing you at the Turf
Club one night not long ago."
10 THE PRICE OF POWER
" That's interesting," I laughed. " And what had
the old man to say ? "
" Oh, nothing of a very friendly nature. But, you
know, he never has a good word to say for anybody."
" Gamblers seldom have. I hear he lost ten thousand
roubles to Prince Savinski at the Union the night
" I heard it was more," and the long-legged equerry
leaned back his head and watched the blue rings of
cigarette smoke slowly ascend to the ceiling of the room,
through the long window of which was a view across
the Neva, with the grim Fortress of Peter and Paul
opposite. " But," he went on, " we were speaking of
these constant conspiracies. Though we have been
back in Petersburg only a few hours, ^Markoff has already
reported a desperate plot. The conspirators, it seems,
had bored a tunnel and placed a mine under the Nevski,
close to the corner of the Pushkinskaya, and it was
arranged to explode it as the Emperor's carriage passed
early this morning on the way from the Nicholas station.
But IMarkoff — the ever-watchful Markoff — discovered
the projected attempt only at eleven o'clock last night
— two hours before we passed. There have been thirty-
three arrests up to the present, including a number of
" Markoff is really a marvel," I declared. " He
scents a conspiracy anywhere."
" And his spies are everywhere. Markoff takes a
good deal of the credit, but it is his agents w^ho do the
real work. He has saved the Emperor's life on at
least a dozen occasions."
I said nothing. I was thinking over the word — a
very significant word — which the Emperor had sent
me by his equerry. To me, that w^ord meant a very
Our Ambassador, Sir Harding Lowe, being at home
THE PRICE OF POWER 11
in England on leave, the Honourable Claude Saunder-
son, our Councillor of Embassy, was acting as Charge
d' Affaires. As far as we knew the political horizon
was calm enough, save the dark little war cloud which
perpetually hovers over the Balkans and grows darker
each winter. The German negotiations with Russia
had been concluded, and the foreign outlook appeared
more serene than it had been for many months.
Yet within the great Winter Palace there was unrest
and trouble. Jealousy, hatred and all uncharitable-
ness were rife amid the Tzar's immediate entonj'age,
while the spirit of revolution was spreading daily with
Within the past twelve months the two Prime
Ministers, Semenoff and },Iouravieff, had been assas-
sinated by bombs, five governors of provinces had met
with violent deaths, and eight chiefs of police of various
cities had fallen victims of the revolutionists, v^'ho had
frankly and openly vowed to take the life of the Tzar
Was it any wonder, then, that the Emperor lived
in bomb-proof rooms both in Petersburg and Tzarskoie-
Selo, as well as at Gatchina ; that he never slept in the
same bed twice, that all food served to him was pre-
viously tasted, that he never gave audience without a
loaded revolver lying upon the table before him, and
that he surrounded himself by hordes of police-agents
and spies ? Surely none could envy him such a life
of constant apprehension and daily terror ; for twice
in a month had bombs been thrown at his carriage,
while five weeks before he had had both horses killed
by an explosion in Moscow and only escaped death
by a sheer miracle.
True, the revolutionists were unusually active at that
moment, and the throne of Russia had become seriously
menaced. Any other but a man of iron constitution
12 THE PRICE OF POWER
and nerves of steel would surely have been driven to
lunacy by the constant terror in which he was forced
to exist. Yet, though he took ample precaution, he
never betrayed the slightest anxiety, a fact which held
everyone amazed. He v^^as a true Russian, an autocrat
of dogged courage, quick decision, always forceful and
impelling, a faithful friend, but a bitter and revengeful
enemy ; a born ruler and a manly Emperor in every
sense of the word.
"The Grand Duchess Natalia has been with the
Emperor. Did she return with you this morning ? "
" Yes," drawled the equerry. " She's been admired
everywhere, as usual, and half our staff are over head
and ears in love with her. She's been flirting out-
" Then half your staff are fools," I exclaimed bluntly.
" Ah, my dear Trewinnard, she is so sweet, so very
charming, so exquisite, so entirely unlike the other
girls at Court — so delightfully unconventional."
" A little too unconventional to suit some — if all I
hear be true," I remarked with a smile.
" You know her, of course. She's an intimate friend
of yours. I overheard her one day telling the Emperor
what an excellent tennis player you were."
" Well, I don't fancy His Majesty interests himself
very much in tennis," I laughed. " He has other, and
far more important, matters to occupy his time — the
affairs of his great nation."
" Natalia, or Tattie, as they call her in the Imperial
circle, is his favourite niece. Nowadays she goes every-
where with him, and does quite a lot of his most private
correspondence — that which he does not even trust to
" Then the Emperor is more friendly towards Her
Imperial Highness than before — eh ? " I asked, for
THE PRICE OF POWER 13
truth to tell I was very anxious to satisfy myself upon
" Yes. She has been forgiven for that little escapade
" What escapade ? " I asked, feigning surprise.
" What escapade ? " my friend echoed. " Why, you
know well enough ! I've heard it whispered that it
was owing to your cleverness as a diplomat that the
matter was so successfully hushed up — and an ugly
affair it was, too. The suicide of her lover."
" That's a confounded lie ! " I said quickly. " He
did not commit suicide at all. At most, he left Russia
with a broken heart, and that is not usually a fatal
" Well, you needn't get angry about it, my dear
fellow," complained my friend. " The affair is success-
fully hushed up, and I fancy she's got a lot to thank you
" Not at all," I declared. " I knov/ that you fellows
have coupled my name with hers, just because I've
danced with her a few times at the Court balls, and I've
been shooting at her father's castle away in Samara.
But I assure you my reputation as the little Grand
Duchess's intimate friend is entirely a mythical one."
Captain Stoyanovitch only smiled incredulously,
stretched out his long legs and shi^gged his shoulders.
" W^ell," I went on, " has she been very terrified about
all these reports of conspiracies ? "
" Frightened out of her life, poor child ! And who
would not be ? " he asked. " We didn't know from
one hour to another that we might not all be blown into
the air. Everywhere the railway was lined by Cos-
sacks, of course. Such a demonstration is apt to lend
an air of security, but, alas ! there is no security mth
the very Ministry undermined by revolution, as it is."
I sighed. What he said was, alas ! too true. Russia,
14 THE PRICE OF POWER
at that moment, was in very evil case, and none knew
it better than we, the impartial onlookers at the British
The warm June sun fell across the rather faded
carpet of that sombre old-fashioned room with its
heavy furniture, which was my ov^n sanctum, and as
the smart captain of the Imperial Guard lolled back
picturesquely in the big arm-chair I looked at him
They were strange thoughts which flooded my brain
at that moment — thoughts concerning that pretty,
high-born young lady whom we had just been discussing,
the girl to whom, he declared. His Majesty entrusted
the greatest secrets of the throne.
Stoyanovitch was an extremely elegant and some-
what irresponsible person, and the fact that the
Emperor had allowed the Grand Duchess Natalia to
write his private letters did not strike me as the actual
truth. The Tzar was far too cautious to entrust the
secrets of a nation to a mere girl who was certainly
know'n to be greatly addicted to the gentle pastime of
Whatever the equerry told us, we at the Embassy
usually added the proverbial grain of salt. Indeed,
the diplomat at any post abroad learns to believe
nothing which he hears, and only half he actually
But the Emperor had sent me, by the mouth of
that smart young officer, the word '' Eathildis '' —
which was an ancient woman's Christian name — and
to me it conveyed a secret message, an announcement
which held me in surprise and apprehension.
What could have happened ?
I dreaded to think.
THE PRICE OF POWER 15
AN AUDIENCE OF THE EMPEROR
" You understand, Trewinnard. There must be no
scandal. What I have just revealed to you is in
strictest confidence — an inviolable secret — a personal
secret of my own."
" I understand Your Majesty's commands per-
" There is already a lot of uncharitable chatter in
the Court circle regarding the other matter, I hear.
Has anything reached you at the Embassy ? "
" Not a whisper, as far as I am aw- are. Indeed,
Your Majesty's words have greatly surprised me. I
did not believe the affair to be so very serious."
" Serious ! " echoed the Emperor Alexander, speak-
ing in English, his dark, deep-set eyes fixed upon me.
" I tell you it is all too serious, nov/ that I find myself
completely isolated — oh ! yes, Trewinnard, isolated —
wi:h scarce one single friend. God knows 1 I have
done my best for the nation, but, alas ! everyone's
hand is raised against me." And his firm mouth
hardened behind his full, dark beard, and he drew his
hand wearily across his broad, white brow.
The room in the Winter Palace in which we sat
was cosy and luxuriantly furnished, the two windows
looking forth upon a grey, cheerless quadrangle whence
came the tramp of soldiers at drill.
Where we sat we could hear the sharp words of
command in Russian, and the clang of the rifie-butts
striking the stones.
The room was essentially English in its' aspect, with
its rich chirv^-blue Axminster carpet, and silk upholster}'-
with curtains to match, while the panelling from floor
16 THE PRICE OF POWER
to ceiling was enamelled dead white, against which the
fine water-colour drawings of naval scenes stood out
in vivid relief. Upon a buhl table was a great silver
bowl filled with Marshal Niel roses — for His Majesty
was passionately fond of flowers — and beside it, large
framed panel photographs of the Tzarina and his children.
And yet those dead white walls and the shape of those
square windows struclc a curious incongruous note, for
if the actual truth be told, those walls were of steel,
and that private cabinet of the Emperor had been
constructed by the Admiralty Department with armour
plates W'hich were bomb-proof.
That apartment in the west angle of the Palace
quadrangle was well known to me, for in it His Majesty
had given me private audience many times. That
long white door which had been so silently closed upon
me by the Cossack sentry when I entered was, I knew,
of armour-plate, four inches in thickness, while beside
the windows were revolving shutters of chilled steel.
There, at that great littered ^roll-top writing-table,
upon which was the reading-lamp with its shade of
salmon-pink silk with the loaded revolver beside it, the
Emperor worked, attending to affairs of State. And
in his padded chair, leaning back easily as he spoke to
me, was His Majesty himself, a broad-shouldered,
handsome man just past middle age, dressed in a suit
of na\'y blue serge. He was a big-faced, big-limbed,
big-handed man of colossal physique and marvellous
intelligence. Though haunted by the terror of violent
death, he was yet an autocrat to the finger-tips, whose
bearing was ever that of a sovereign ; yet his eyes had
a calm, sympathetic, kindly look, and those w^ho knew
him intimately were well aware that he was not the
monster of oppression wliich his traducers had made
him out to be before the eyes of Europe.
True, with a stroke of that grey quill pen lying there
THE PRICE OF POWER 17
upon his blotting-pad he had sent many a man and
woman without trial to their unrecorded doom, either
in the frozen wastes of Northern Siberia, to the terrible
mines of Nerchinsk, to the horrors of the penal island
of Sakhalin, or to those fearful subterranean oubliettes
at Schusselburg, whence no prisoner has ever returned.
But, as an autocrat, he dealt with his revolutionary
enemies as they would deal with him. They conspired
to kill him, and he retaliated by consigning them to a
On the other hand, I myself knew how constant was
his endeavour to ferret out abuses of administration, to
alleviate the sufferings of the poor, to give the peasantry
education and all the benefits of modern civilization as
we in England know them, and how desperate, alas 1
were his constant struggles with that unscrupulous
camarilla which ever surrounded him, constantl}^ pre-
venting him from learning the truth concerning any
Thus, though striving to do his best for his subjects
and for his nation, yet, surrounded as he was by a
corrupt Ministr}^ and a more corrupt Court, this big,
striking man in blue serge was, perhaps, next to the
Sultan of Turkey, the best-hated man in all Europe.
My own position was a somewhat singular one. A
few months after my appointment to Petersburg from
Brussels I had been able to render His Majesty a slight
personal service. In fact, I had, when out one evening
with two other attaches of the German Embassy,
learned by mere accident of a desperate plot which was
to be put into execution on the following day. My
informant was a dancer at the Opera, who had taken
too much champagne at supper. I sought audience
of the Emperor early next day, and was fortunately
just in time to prevent him from passing a certain spot
near the Michailovski Palace, where six men were
18 THE PRICE OF POWER
stationed with bombs of picric acid, ready to hurl.
For that service His Majesty had been graciously
pleased to take me into his confidence — a confidence
which, I hope, I never abused. From me he was always
eager to ascertain what was really happening beyond
that high wall of untruth which the camarilla had so
cleverly built up and preserved, and more than once
had he entrusted me with certain secret missions.
I was not in uniform, as that audience was a private
one ; but as His Majesty, ruler of one hundred and
thirty millions of people, passed me his finely-chased
golden box full of cigarettes — and we both lit one, as
was our habit — his brow clouded, and with a sigh he said :
" To tell the truth, Trewinnard, I am also very anxious
indeed concerning the second matter — concerning the
" I know that Your Majesty must be," I replied.
" But, after all, Her Imperial Highness is a girl of ex-
ceptional beauty and highest spirits ; and even if she
indulges in — well, in a little harmless flirtation, she surely
may be forgiven."
" Other girls may be forgiven, but not those of the
blood-ro3^al," he said in mild rebuke. " The Empress
is quite as concerned about her as I am. Why, even
upon this last journey of ours I found her more than
once flirting with Stoyanovitch, my equerry. True,
he's a good-looking young fellow, and of excellent
family, yet she ought to know that such a thing is quite
unwarrantable ; she ought to know that to those of the
blood-royal love is, alas I forbidden."
I was surprised at this. I had no idea that she and
Ivan Stoyanovitch had become friends. He had never
hinted at it.
** The fact is, Trewinnard," the Emperor w^ent on,
blowing a cloud of cigarette-smoke from his lips, " if
this continues I shall be reluctantly compelled to banish
THE PRICE OF POWER 19
her to the Caucasus, or somewhere where she will be
kept out of mischief."
" But permit me, Sire, to query whether flirtini^ is
really mischief," I exclaimed with a smile. " Every
girl of her age — and she is hardly nineteen — fancies
herself in love, mostly with men much older than her-
" Our women, Trewinnard, are, alas ! not like women
of the people," was the Sovereign's calm reply, his
deep, earnest eyes upon mine. "It is their misfortune
that they are not. They can never enjoy the same
freedom as those fortunate ones of the middle-class ;
they seldom are permitted to marry the man the}^ love,
and though they may live in palaces and m_ove amid
the gay society of Court, yet their ideas are warped
from birth, and broken hearts, alas ! beat beneath
" Yes, I suppose v/hat Your Majesty says is, alas 1 too
true. Ladies of the blood-royal are forbidden freedom,
love and happiness. And when one of them happens
to break the iron bonds of conventionality, then scandal
quickly results ; the Press overflows with it."
" In this case scandal would already have resulted
had you not acted as promptly as you did," His Majesty
said. " Where is that lad Geoffrey Hamborough now ? "
asked the autocrat suddenl3^
" Living on his father's estate in Yorkshire," I
replied. " I hope I have been able to put an end to
that fatal folly ; but with a girl of the Grand Duchess's
type one can never be too certain."
" Ah ! the mischievous little minx ! " exclaimed the
Emperor with a kindly smile. " I've watched, and
seen how cunning she is — and how she has cleverly
misled even me. WeU, she must alter, Trewinnard, she
must alter — or she must be sent away to the Caucasus."
" Where she would have her freedom, and probably
20 THE PRICE OF POWER
flirt more outrageously than ever," I ventured to
" You seem to regard her as hopeless," he said,
looking sharply into my eyes as he leaned back in
" Not entireh^ hopeless. Sire, only as a most interesting
" I have been speaking to her father this morning,
and I have suggested sending her to Paris, or, perhaps,
to London ; there to live incognito under the guardian-
ship of some responsible middle-aged person, until she
can settle down. At present she flirts with every man
she meets, and I am greatly concerned about her."
" Every man is ready to flirt with Her Imperial
Highness — first, because of her position, and, secondly,
because of her remarkable beauty," I assured him.
" You think her beautiful — eh, Trewinnard ? "
" I merely echo the popular judgment," I replied.
" It is said she is one of the most beautiful girls in all
" Ah ! " he laughed. " Next we shall have her
flirting with j^ou, Trewinnard. You are a bachelor.
Do beware of the little dark-e^^ed Vv'itch, I beg of you ! "
" Xo fear of such contretemps, Sire," I assured him
with a smile. " I am double her age, and, moreover,
a confirmed bachelor. The Embassy is expensive, and
I cannot afford the luxury" of a wife — and especially an
Imperial Grand Duchess."
" Who knows — eh, Trewinnard ? Who knows ? "
exclaimed the Sovereign good-naturedly. " But let's
return to the point. Am I to understand that you are
ready and willing to execute this secret commission
for me ? You are well aware how highly I value the
confidential services you have already rendered to me.
But for you, remember, I should to-day have been a
THE PRICE OF POWER 21
" No, Sire," I protested. " Please do not speak of
that. It was the intervention of Providence for your
" Ah, yes ! " he said in a low, fervent tone, his brows
contracting. ** I thank God constantly for sparing me
for yet another day from the hands of my unscrupulous
enemies, so that I may work for the good of the beloved
nation over which I am called to rule."
There, in that room, wherein I had so often listened
to his words of wisdom, I sat fully recognizing that
though an Emperor and an autocrat, he was, above all,
With all the heavy burden of affairs of State — and
not even a road could be made anywhere in the Russian
Empire, or a bridge built, or a gas-pipe laid, without
his signature — with all the onus of the autocratic
Sovereign-power upon his shoulders, and with that
constant wariness which he was compelled to exercise
against that cunning camarilla of ^linisters, yet one of
his chief concerns was with that pretty little madcap
Natalia, daughter of his brother, the Grand Duke
He wished to suppress her superabundance of high
spirits and stamp out her tomboy instincts.
" I am reading your thoughts, Trewinnard," the
Emperor remarked at last, pressing hij cigarette-end
slowly into the silver ash-tray to extinguish it. " My re-
quest has placed you in a rather awkward position — eh ? "
" What Your Majesty has revealed to me this after-
noon has utterly amazed me. I feel bewildered, for I
see how dire must be the result if the truth were ever
" It will never be. You are the only person who has
suspicion of it besides myself."
" And I shall never speak — never I " I assured him
22 THE PRICE OF POWER
*' 1 know that you are entirely loyal to me. I am
Emperor, it is true, but I am, nevertheless, a man of
my word, just as you are," he replied, his intelligent
face dark and grave. " Yes. I thought you would
realise the seriousness of the present situation, and I
know that you alone I can trust. I have not even told
" Why not ? " „
" For obvious reasons."
I was silent. I only then realized the motive of his
" I admit that Your Majesty's request has placed
me in a somewhat awkward position," I said at last,
bending forward in m}^ chair. " Truth to tell, I — well,
I'm hardly hopeful of success, for the mission with
which I am entrusted is so extremely difiicult, and
" I am fully aware of that," he interrupted. " Yet
I feel confident that you, who have saved my life on
one occasion, will not hesitate to undertake this service
to the best of your ability. Use the utmost discretion,
and you may get at the truth, I do not disguise from
you the fact that upon certain contingencies, dependent
on the success of your mission, depends the throne of
Russia— the dynasty. Do you follow ? " And he
looked me straight in the face with those big, round
brown eyes, an open, straight, honest look, as became
a man who was fearless — an Emperor.
" I regret that I do not exactly understand," I ven-
tured to exclaim, whereat he rose, tall, handsome and
muscular, and strode to the window. The band of the
Imperial Guard was playing below in the great paved
quadrangle, as it always did each day at four o'clock
when the Emperor was in residence. For a few seconds
he stood peering forth critically at the long lines of
soldiers draw-n up across the square. Then the man
THE PRICE OF POWER 23
whose word was law turned back to me with a sigh,
" No, Trewinnard, I suppose you do not follow me.
It is all a mystery to you, of course " — and he paused
— " as mysterious as the sudden disappearance of
Madame de Rosen and her daughter Luba from Peters-
" Disappearance ? " I echoed, amazed. " They are
still in Petersburg. I dined with them only last
night ! "
" They are not now in Petersburg," replied the
Emperor very quietly. " They left at nine o'clock this
morning on a long journey — to Siberia."
My heart gave a great bound.
" To Siberia ! " I gasped, staring at him. " Are they
exiled ? Who has done this ? "
" I have done it," was his hard reply. " They are
revolutionists — implicated in the attempt that was to
be made upon me early this morning as I drove up the
** Markoff has denounced them ? "
" He has. See, here is a full list of names of the
conspirators," and he took a slip of paper from his
" And General Markoff told Your Majesty of my
friendliness with Madame and her daughter ? "
" Markoff lied when he denounced them as revolu-
tionists ! " I cried angrily. " They were my friends,
and I know them very intimately. Let me here declare.
Sire, that no subject of Your Majesty was more loyal
than those two ladies.. Surely the agent-provocateur
has been at work again."
" Unfortunately I am bound to believe the word
of the head of m}^ political police," he said rather
24 THE PRICE OF POWER
I knew, alas ! how fierce and bitter was the Emperor's
hatred of those who plotted against his life. A single
word against man or woman was sufficient to cause them
to be arrested and sent to the other side of Asia, never
again to return.
" And where have the ladies been sent ? " I inquired.
The Emperor consulted a slip of paper, and then
" To Paratovsk."
" The most far-distant and dreaded of all the Arctic
penal settlements ! " I cried. "It is cruel and unjust !
It is death to send a woman there, where it is winter for
nine months in the year, and where darkness reigns
five months out of the twelve."
" I regret," replied the Emperor, with a slight
gesture of the hand. " But they w^ere conspirators."
" With all respect to Your Majesty, I beg to express
an entirel}^ different opinion. Markoff has long been
Madame de Rosen's enemy."
His Majesty made a quick imperious gesture of
impatience and said :
" Please do not let us discuss the matter further
■ — at least, until you are in a position to prove your
" I will," I cried. " I know that your Majesty will
never allow such injustice to be done to two innocent,
" If injustice has really been done, then those
responsible shall suffer. Discover the truth, and report
to me later," he said.
" I will do m}^ very utmost," was my reply.
*' And at the same time, Trewinnard, I trust you will
endeavour to carry out the confidential mission which
I have entrusted to you," he said. " Recollect that I
treat you, not as a foreign diplomat, but as a loyal and
true personal friend of myself and my house. Ah ! "
THE PRICE OF POWER 25
he sighed again ; " Heaven knows, I have but few
trustworthy ones about me."
" I am profoundly honoured by Your Majesty's
confidence," I assured him, bowing low. " I certainly
shall respect it, and act exactly as you desire/'
" The Court dislikes confidence being placed in any
foreigner, even though he be an Englishman," the
Emperor said in a changed voice ; " therefore, remain
discreet always, and disclaim that I have ever treated
you other than with the formal courtesy which is
expected by all diplomats.'^
" I quite understand," I said.
" You will see Natalia at the Court ball to-night,
and you can speak to her diplomatically, if opportunity
occurs. But recollect that she must know nothing of
what I have said. I believe you know Hartwig, chief
of the criminal detective force."
" Quite well," was my reply.
" Then I will give him orders. Use him as you
wish, but tell him nothing."
" I shall remain silent."
" And you are entitled to leave of absence — eh ?
You can return to England without arousing sus-
picion ? "
" Yes. I have eight weeks due to me."
" Excellent. I can do nothing more — except to
thank you, Trewinnard, to thank you most sincerely
for assisting me, and to await word from you. Sign
it with ' Bathildis,' and I shall know." And the great
burly, bearded man held out his big, strong hand — the
iron hand — as sign that my audience was at an end.
I bowed low over it, and next moment the heavy
white door of enamelled steel swung open and I backed
out of the Imperial presence, the bearer of a secret as
strange and grim as it has ever been the lot of any man
to lock within his breast.
26 THE PRICE OF POWER
What the Emperor had revealed to me was undreamed
of by that gscy, reckless and intriguing circle which
comprised the Russian Court — undreamed of by the
chancelleries of Europe.
The merest whisper of it would, I knew, stagger the
world. And yet he had, in sheer desperation, confided
in me a most am.azing truth. As I descended that
broad, handsome flight of thickly-carpeted marble steps,
where flunkeys in brilliant grey and purple livery bowed
at every turn, and equerries and officials in smart
uniforms came and went, my brain was awhirl at the
magnitude of the affair, and the terrible scandal which
must result if ever the secret were betrayed — the secret
of a throne.
A thought flashed across mj' mind — the knowledge
of my own personal peril. I had enemies — bitter
enemies. My heart sank within me as I stepped into
the great gilded hall, for I had given a promise which I
much feared I would never be permitted to live and
CONTAINS CERTAIN CONFIDENCES
Six hours later, accompanied by Saunderson, our tall,
thin Charge d'i\ff aires, and the Embassy staff, all in
our uniforms and decorations, I entered the huge
white-and-gold ball-room of the Winter Palace, where
the Russian Court, the representatives of exclusive
Society, the bureaucracy of the Empire and the corps
diplomatique had assembled.
The scene was perhaps the most brilliant and
picturesque that could be witnessed anyv/here in the
world. Beneath the myriad lights of those huge cut-
glass chandeliers, and reflected by the gigantic mirrors
THE PRICE OF POWER 27
upon the walls, were hundreds of gold-laced uniforms
of every shade and every style. Across the breasts of
many of the men were gay-coloured scarves of the various
orders, with diamond stars, wliile others wore around
their necks parti-coloured ribbons with enamelled
crosses at their throat, or rows of decorations across
And to this phantasmagoria of colour, as all stood
in little groups chattering and awaiting Their Majesties,
was added that of the splendid long-trained dresses of
the v/omen, nearly all of whom wore their diamond
tiaras, or diamond ornaments in their corsage.
It was indeed, a cosmopolitan gathering, half of
Russians and half of the diplomatic set, and around
me, as I bowed over the hand of a Vv-ell-known Baroness,
wife of the Minister of War, I heard animated chatter
in half a dozen tongues. The Emperor had returned,
and there would now be a month of gaiety before he
retired for the summer to Gatchina. The spring season
in Petersburg had been cut short — first by the indisposi-
tion of the Empress, and afterwards by reason of the
Emperor's tour to the distant shore of the Caspian.
Therefore at this, the delayed Court ball, every-
body who was anybody in Russia was present.
In one end of the huge Renaissance salon, with its
wonderful painted ceiling and gilded cupids, was a
great semicircular alcove, with a slightly raised dais,
v.-hereon sat the Dowager-Empress, the Grand
Duchesses and those of the blood-royal, with their
attendant ladies, while the male members of the Court
The opposite end of the great ball-room led to another
salon with parquet floor, decorated in similar style,
and with many mirrors, and almost as large, while beyond
was a somewhat smaller room, the whole effect being
one of gorgeous grandeur and immensity.
28 THE PRICE OF POWER
I had paused to chat with a stout lady in cream,
who wore a beautiful tiaia, Princess Lovovski, wife of
the Governor-General of Finland, and she had com-
menced to tell me the latest tit -bit of scandal concern-
ing the wife of a certain War Office official, a matter
which did not interest me in the least, when suddenly
there came three loud taps — the taps of the Grand
Chamberlain — announcing the entrance of His Majesty.
As by enchantment a wide door in the side of the ball-
room flew open, and the glittering throng, bejewelled
and perfumed, flashing colours amid plumes, aigrettes
and flowers, laughing and murmuring to the clink of
gala swords and sabres, was struck to silence.
His Majesty passed — a tall, commanding figure in a
white uniform covered with the stars, crosses and many-
coloured ribbons of the various European orders.
Beneath the thousand lights the bare shoulders of the
beautiful women inclined profound!}'.
Then again the loud chatter recommenced.
The Emperor's presence, tall, erect, muscular, was
indeed a regal one. He looked every^ inch a ruler and an
autocrat as he advanced to the alcove, where the whole
Court had risen to receive him, and with a quick gesture
he gave the signal for dancing to commence.
I retreated to the wall, being in no humour to dance,
and stood gazing at him. He seemed, indeed, a
dift'erent person to that deep-e^^ed, earnest man in dark-
blue serge who had sat chatting with me so affably
six hours ago. He was in that hour a man, but now the
centre of that gay patrician throng, he was ruler, the
autocrat who by a stroke of the grey quill could banish
to the mines or the oitblieites smy of those of his sub-
jects who bowed before him — sweep them out of exis-
tence as completely as though the grav^e had claimed
them ; for every exile lost his identity and became a
mere number ; his estate was administered as though
THE PRICE OF POWER 29
he were dead, and apportioned, with the usual for-
feiture to the State, among his heirs. So that it was
impossible for an exile to be traced.
I thought of Madame Marya de Rosen and of poor
little Luba. Ah ! I wondered how many delicate
women and handsome, intelligent men who had danced
over that polished floor were now dragging out their
weary lives in those squalid, filthy Yakut yaurtas of
Eastern Siberia. How many, alas ! had, in innocence,
fallen victims to that corrupt bureaucracy which always
concealed the truth from His Majesty.
To the camarilla, a dozen or so men who were present
there in brilhant uniforms and wearing the Cross of
St. Andrew, with the pale-blue ribbon, the highest
Order of the Empire, bestowed, upon them for their
" fidelity," that present reign of terror was solely due.
It was to the interests of those men that the Emperor
should be perpetually terrorized. Half those so-called
conspiracies were the work of the Secret Police them-
selves and their agents-provocateurs ; and hundreds of
innocent persons were being spirited away without
trial to the frozen wastes of Northern and Eastern
Siberia, upon no other charge than the trivial one that
they were " dangerous " persons !
Madame de Rosen and her pretty daughter had
fallen victims of the bitter unscrupulousness of that
short, stout, grey-moustached man, who at that moment
was bowing so obsequiously before his Sovereign, the
man who was one of the greatest powers in the Empire,
General Serge Markoff, Chief of Secret Police.
The first dance was in progress. Pretty women,
with their smart, good-looking cavaliers, were whirling
about me to the slow, tuneful strains of one of the
latest of Strauss's waltzes, when Colonel Mellini, the
Itahan military attache, halted before me to chat. He
had just returned from leave, and had much Embass}^
80 THE PRICE OF POWER
gossip to relate to me from the Eternal City, where I
had served for two years.
" I hear," he remarked at last, " that another plot
was discovered early this morning — a desperate one in
the Nevski. Markoft really seems ubiquitous."
I looked into his dark eyes and smiled.
" Ah ! I see, caro mio," he laughed. " Your thoughts
are similar to mine — eh ? These plots are a little too
frequent to be genuine," and, lowering his voice to a
whisper, he added : "I can't understand how His
Majest}^ does not see through the transparenc}^ of it.
They are terrorizing him every day — every hour. A
man of less robust physique or mental balance would
surely be driven out of his mind."
" I agree with j^ou entirely, my dear friend. But,"
I added, " this is not the place to discuss affairs of
State. Ah, 3,Iadame ! " and turning, I bent over the
gloved hand of old Madame Neilidoff, one of the
leaders of Society in Moscow, with whom I stood
chatting for a long time, and who kindly invited me
for a week out at her great country estate at Sukova
Captain Stoyanovitch, gay Vvith decorations, hurried
past me on some errand for the Emperor, and gave me
a nod as he went on, while young Bertram Tucker, our
third secretary-, came up and began to chat with the
yellow-toothed old lady, who was such a power in the
Russian social circle.
I suppose it must have been nearly two o'clock, when,
after wandering through the salons, greeting many men
and women I knew, I suddenly heard a voice behind me
exclaim in English :
" HuUoa, old Uncle Colin ! Am I too small to be
recognized ? "
I turned quickly and confronted the pretty laughing
girl of nineteen of whom I had been in search all the
THE PRICE OF POWER 31
night — Her Imperial Highness the Grand-Duch^s
Natalia Olga Nicolaievna.
Tall, slim, vvith a perfect figure, she was dressed in
cream, a light simple gown which suited her youth and
extreme beauty admirably. Across her dark, well-
dressed hair she wore a narrow band, of forget-me-nots ;
at her throat was a large single emerald of great value,
suspended by a fine chain of platinum, a present from
His Majesty, while on the edge of her low-cut corsage
she wore a bow of pale blue ribbon embroidered in
silver with a Russian motto, and from it was suspended
a medallion set with diamonds and bearing in the
centre the enamelled figure of Saint Catherine — the
exclusive Order of Saint Catherine bestowed upon the
" How miserable you look, Uncle Colin ! " exclaimed
the dark-eyed girl before I could reply. " Whatever
is the matter ? Is the British Lion sick — or what ? "
" I really must apologize to Your Imperial Highness,"
I said, bowing. " I was quite unaware that I looked
miserable. I surely could never look miserable in your
We both laughed, while standing erect and defiant,
before me she held up a little ivory fan, threatening to
chastise me with it.
" Well," I said," and so you are safely back again in
Petersburg, after aU your travels ! Why, it's surely
eight weeks since we were at the ball at "the Palace of
your uncle, the Grand Duke Serge."
" W^here you danced with me. Do you remember
how we laughed ? You said some nasty sarcastic things,
so I punished you. I told Captain Stoyanovitch and
some of the others that you had flirted with me and
kissed me. So there ! "
I looked at her in stern reproach.
" Ah ! " I said. " So that is the source of all those
32 THE PRICE OF POWER
rumours — eh ? You're a very wicked girl," I added,
" even though you are a Grand Duchess."
" Well, I suppose Grand Duchesses are in no way
different to other girls — eh ? " she pouted. " Some-
times I wish I were back again at school at Eastbourne.
Ah ! what grand times I used, to have in those days —
hocke}^ and tennis and. gym, and I was not compelled
to perform all sorts of horrible, irksome etiquette, and
be surrounded by this crowd of silly dressed-up apes.
Why, Uncle Colin, these are not men — all these tight-
uniformed popinjays at Court."
" Hush, my child ! " I said. " Hush ! You will be
" And I don't care if I am. Surel}^ a girl can speak
out what she thinks ! "
" In England, yes, in certain circumstances, but in
Russia — and especially at Court — never ! "
" Oh, you are so horribly old-fashioned. Uncle Colin.
When shall I bring you up-to-date ? " cried the petted
and spoiled j^oung lady, whose two distinctions were
that she was one of the most beautiful girls in all Russia,
and the favourite niece of the Tzar Alexander. She
had nicknamed me " Uncle," on account of my superior
age, long ago.
" And you are utterly incorrigible," I said, trying to
assume an angry look.
" Ah ! You're going to lecture me ! " she exclaimed
with another pout. " I suppose I ought never to dance
at all — eh ? It's wicked in your eyes, isn't it ? You
are perhaps, one of those exemplary people that I
heard so much of when in England — such an expressive
name — the Kill- joys ! "
" No, Your Highness," I protested. " I really don't
think I'm a killjoy. If I were, I couldn't very well be
a diplomat. I "
" But all diplomats are trained liars," she asserted
THE PRICE OF POWER 33
with abrupt frankness. "The Emperor told mo so
only the other day. He said the}^ were men one should
" I admit that, without the lie artistique, diplomacy
would really be non-existent," I said, with a laugh.
" But is not the whole political world everywhere in
Europe a world of vain promise, intrigue and shame ? "
" Just as our social world seems to me," she admitted.
" Ah ! Then you are beginning to realize the hollow
unreality of the world about you — eh ? " I said.
" Dear me ! " she exclaimed, " you talk just like a
bishop ! I really don't know what has come to my dear
old Uncle Colin. You must be ill, or something. You
never used to be like this," she added, with a sigh and
a well-feigned look of regret that was really most amus-
ing, while at the same time she made eyes at me.
Truly, she was a most charming httle madcap, this
Imperial Grand Duchess — the most charming in all
Europe, as the diplomatic circle had long ago agreed.
So she had taken revenge upon me for uttering words
of wisdom by telling people that I had flirted with and
kissed her ! She herself was responsible for the chatter
which had gone round, with many embellishments,
concerning myself, and how deeply I was in love with
her. I wondered if it had reached the Emperor's ears ?
I felt annoyed, I here confess. And yet so sweet
and irresponsible was she, so intelligent and quick
at repartee, that next moment I had forgiven her.
And I frankly told her so.
" My dear Uncle Colin, it would have been all the
same," she declared airily. " You shouldn't have
lectured me. I assure you I have had enough of that
at home. Ever since I came back from England every-
body seems to have conspired to tell me that I'm the
most terrible girl in Russia. Father holds up his hands ;
why, I really don't know."
34 THE PRICE OF P0\^'T:R
"Because 3^ou are so extremely unconventional/'
I said. " A girl of the people can act just as she likes ;
but you are a Grand Duchess — and you can't."
" Bother my birth. That's m}^ misfortune. I wish
I were a shop-girl, or a typist, or something. Then
I should be free ! " she exclaimed impatiently. " As
it is, I can't utter a word or move a httle finger wdthout
the whole of Russia Ufting up their hands in pious
horror. I tell you, Uncle Colin," she added, her fine,
big, dark eyes fixed upon me, " I'm sick of it all. It
is simph^ unbearable. Ah ! how I wish I were back at
dear old Southdene College. I hate Russia and all
her works ! "
" Hush ! " I cried again. " You really must not
say that. Remember your position — the niece of His
" I repeat it ! " she cried in desperation, her well-
formed little mouth set firmly. " And I don't care who
hears me — even if it's Uncle Alexander himself ! "
CONCERNS MADAME DE ROSEN
At Her Highness's side I had strolled through the
smaller salon and along the several great corridors to
the splendid winter garden, on the opposite side pf the
palace. It was one of the smaller courtyards which had
been covered in with glass and filled with high palms
and tropical flowers ablaze with bloom. There, in that
northern latitude, Asiatic and African plants flourished
and flowered, with httle electric lights cunningly con-
cealed amid the leaves.
Several other couples were seated there, away from
the whirl and gUtter of the Court ; but taking no notice,
we halted at two wicker chairs set invitingly in a comer.
THE PRICE OF POWER 35
Into one of these she flung herself with a Uttle sigh, and,
bowdng, I took the other.
I sat and watched her. Her beauty was, indeed,
exquisite. She had the long, tender, fluent lines of
body and limb, the round waist, the deep chest and small
bust, the sturdy throat of those ancient virgins that
the greatest sculptors of the world worshipped and
wrought into imperishable stone. She was not very
tall, though she appeared so. It was something in pose
and movement that did it. A beautiful soul looked
from Her Highness's beautiful eyes whenever she smiled
I found myself examining ever}^ line and turn and
contour of the prettity-poised head. She was dark,
with that lovely complexion like pure alabaster tinted
with rose sometimes seen in Russian women. Her
eyes, under the sweeping lashes, seemed capable of
untold depths of tenderness. Hers was the perfect
oval of a young face across whose innocent girhshness
experience had written no hue, passion cast no shadow.
" One thing I've heard to-day has greatly pained
me," I said presently to my dainty httle companion.
" You'U forgive me for speaking quite frankly — won't
you ? "
" Certainly, Uncle Cohn," she repUed, opening
her big eyes in surprise. " But I thought you had
brought me here to flirt with me — not to talk seriously."
" I must talk seriously for a moment," I said apolo-
getically. "It is in Your Highness's interests. Listen.
I heard something to-day at which I know that you
yourself will be greatly anno^^ed. I heard it whispered
that Geoffrey Hamborough had killed himself because
" Geoffrey dead ! " she gasped, starting up and staring
at me, her face blanched in an instant.
" No. He is not dead," I rephed calmly, " for as
36 THE PRICE OF POWER
soon as I heard the report I sent hrni a wire to Yorkshire
and to the Travellers', in London. He replied from the
club half an hour before I came here."
" But who could have spread such a report ? " the
girl asked. " It could only be done to cast opprobrium
upon me — to show that because — because we parted —
he had taken his hfe. It's really too cruel," she declared,
and I saw hot teairs welling in her beautiful eyes.
" I agree. But you must deny the report."
" Who told you ? "
" I regret that I must not say. It was, however,
a friend of yours."
" A man ? "
I nodded in the affirmative.
" Ah ! " she cried impatiently. " You diplomats
are always so full of secrets. Really you must teU me,
" I can't," was my brief reply. " I only ask you
to refute the untruth."
" I wiU — at once. Poor Geoffrey."
" Have you heard from him lately ? " I asked.
" You're ver}^ inquisitive. I have not."
" I'm very glad of that," I answered her. " You
know how greatly the affair annoyed the Emperor.
You were awfully injudicious. It's a good job that I
chanced to meet you both at the station in Moscow."
" Well," she laughed, " I was going to England
with him, and we had arranged to be married at a
registrar's office in London. Only you stopped us —
you nasty old thing I "
" And you ought to be very glad that I recognized
you just in the nick of time. Ten minutes later and
you would have left Moscow. Think of the scandal —
the elopement of a young Imperial Grand Duchess of
Russia with an EngHsh commoner."
" WeU, and isn't an English commoner as good, and
THE PRICE OF POWER 37
perhaps better, than one of these uniformed and deco-
rated Russian aristocrats ? I am Russian," she added
frankly, " but I have no love for the Muscovite man."
" It was a foolish escapade," I declared ; " but it's
all over now. The one consolation is that nobody
knows the actual truth."
" Except His Majesty. I told him everything ; how
I had met Geoffrey in Hampshire when I went to stay
with Lady Hexworthy ; how we used to meet in secret,
and all that," she said.
" Well now," I exclaimed, looking straight into her
face, " I want to ask you a plain open question. I
have a motive in doing so — one which I will explain to
you after you have answered me honestly and truth-
fully. I "
" At it again I " cried the pretty madcap. " You're
really not yourself to-night. Uncle Cohn. What is
the matter with you ? "
" Simply I want to know the truth — whether there
is still any love between Geoffrey and yourself ? "
" Ah ! no," she sighed, pulling a grimace. " It's all
over between us. It broke his heart, poor fellow, but
some kind friend, at your Embassy, I think, wrote and
told him about Paul Urusoff and — well, he wrote me a
hasty letter. Then I rephed, a couple of telegrams,
and we agreed to be strangers for ever. And so ends
the story. Like a novel, isn't it ? " she laughed merrily.
My eyes were fixed upon her. I was wondering if
she were really telling me the truth. As the Emperor
had most justly said, she was an artful little minx
where her love-affairs were concerned.
Colonel Polivanoff, the Grand Chamberlain of the
Court, crossed the great palm-garden at that moment,
and bow 5 1 to my pretty companion.
" But," she added, turning back to me, " people ought
not to say that he's been foolish enough to do away
38 THE PRICE OF POWER
with himself on my account. It only shows that I
must have made some enemies of whom I'm quite
"Everyone has enemies," I answered, her. "You
are no exception. But, is it reall}^ true that Geoffrey
is no longer in your thoughts ? " I asked her very
" Truth and honour," she declared, v/ith equal gravity.
"Then who is the fortunate young man at present
—eh ? "
" That's my own secret. Uncle Colm," she declared,
drawing herself up. "I'll ask you the same question.
Who is the lady you are in love with at the present
moment ? "
" ShaU I tell you ? "
" Yes. It would be interesting."
"I'm in love with you."
" Ah ! " she cried, nodding her head and laughing.
" I thought as much. You've brought me out here to
flirt with me. I wonder if you'll kiss me — eh ? " she
" I will, if you tempt me too much," I said threaten-
ingly. -" And then the report you've spread about v/ill
be the truth."
She laughed merrily and tapped, my hand with her
" I never can get the better of you, dear old. uncle,"
she declared. " You always have the last word, and
you're such a delightfully old-fashioned person. Now
let's try and be serious." And she settled herself and,
turning to me, added : " Why do you wish to know
about Geoffrey Hamborough ? "
" For several reasons," I said. " First, I think Your
Highness knows me quite well enough to be av/are that
I am your very sincere friend."
" My best friend," she declared quickly ; her manner
THE PRICE OF POWER 39
changed in an instant from merry irresponsibility to
deep earnestness. " That night on the railway plat-
form at Moscow you saved me making a silly fool of
myself. It was most generous of the Emperor to forgive
me. I know how you pleaded for me. He told me
" I am your friend," I replied. " Now, as to the
future. You tell me that you find all the Court etiquette
irksome, and that you are antagonistic to this host of
yoimg men about you. You are, in brief, sorry that you
are back in Russia. Is that so ? "
"It is so exactly."
. " And how about Prince Urusoff — eh ? "
" I haven't seen him for fully three months, and I
don't even know where he is. I believe he's with his
regiment, the 21st Dragoons of White Russia, somewhere
away in the Urals. I heard that the Emperor sent him
there. But he certainly need not have done so. I
found him only a foolish young boy."
Her Imperial Highness was a young lady of very
keen intelligence. After several governesses at home,
she had been sent to Paris, and afterwards to a college
at Eastbourne — v/here she was known as Miss Natalia
Gottorp, the latter being one of the family names of the
Imperial Romanoffs — and. there she had completed
her education. From her childhood she had always
had an English governess, Miss West, consequently,
v.^ith a Russian's adaptability, she spoke English almost
without a trace of accent. Though so full of fun and
frolic, and so ready to carry on a violent flirtation, yet
she was, on the other hand, very thoughtful and level-
headed, with a keen sense of humour, and a nature
extremely sympathetic with any person in distress,
no matter whom they might be. Hers was a bright,
pleasant nature, a smiling face, and ever-twinkling
eve full of mischief and merriment.
40 THE PRICE OF POWER
" Well," I said, looking into her face, " I've been
thinking about you a good deal since you've been away
— and wondering."
" Wondering what ? "
■ ' Whether, as you have no love for Russia, you
might not like to go back to England ? " I said slowly.
"To England!" she cried in delight. "Ah! If
I only could ! I love England, and especially East-
bourne, with the sea and the promenade, the golf, and
the concerts at the Devonshire Park, and all that. Ah I
I only wish I could go."
" But if you went you'd, fall in love with some young
fellow, and then we should have another scandal at
Court," I said.
" I wouldn't. BeHeve me, I wouldn't, reaUy, Uncle
Colin," she pleaded, looking up into my face with
almost childish simplicity.
I shook my head dubiously.
"All I've told you is the real truth," she assured
me. "I've only amused myself. Every girl hkes
men to make love to her. Why should I be so bitterly
condemned ? " '^
' ' Because you are not a commoner. " "^.h^
" That's just it. But if I went to England and
lived again as Miss Nataha Gottorp, nobody would
know who I am, and I could have a really splendid
time. Here," she cried, " all the glitter and etiquette
of Court life stifle me. I've been bored to death on the
tour round the Empire, but couldn't you try and induce
the Emperor to let me go back to England ? Do, Uncle
Colin, there's a dear. A word from the Emperor, and
father would let me go in a moment. I wish poor mother
were aHve. She would soon let me go, I know."
" And what would you do in England if you went
back ? " ^
" Why, I'd have my old governess. Miss West — the
THE PRICE OF POWER 41
one I had at Strelna — to live with me, and I'd be ever
so happy. I'd take a house on the sea-front at East-
bourne, so as to be near the old college, and see the
girls. Try what you can do with Uncle Alexander,
won't you ? there's a dear old uncle," she added,
in her most persuasive tones.
" Well," I said, with some show of reluctance, " if I
succeed, you will be responsible to me, remember.
'' I promise," she said. " Here's my hand," and
she put her tiny white-gloved hand into mine.
" And if I heard of any affectionate meetings I should
put down my foot at once."
" Yes, that's agreed," she exclaimed, with enthu-
siasm. " At once."
" And I should, perhaps, want you to help me in
England," I added slowly, looking into her pretty face
'"' Help you, in what way ? " she asked.
" At present, I hardly know. But if I wanted assist-
ance might I count on you ? "
" Count on me. Uncle Colin ! " she echoed. " Why,
of CDurse, you can ! Look at my indebtedness to you,
and it will be increased if you can secure me permission
to go back to England."
" Well," I said, " I'll do what I can. But you have
told me no untruths to-night, not one — eh ? " I asked
very 'seriously. " If so, admit it."
'■ Not one. I swear I haven't."
" Very well," I said. " Then I'll do my best."
" Ah ! you are a real dear ! " cried the girl enthu-
siastically. " I almost feel as though I could hug
and kiss you ! "
"Better not," I laughed. "There are some people
sitting over there, and they would talk — eh ? "
" Y:;5," she said slowly. " I suppose really one ought
42 THE PRICE OF POWER -
to be a bit careful, after ail. When will you see the
Emperor ? "
" Perhaps to-morrow — if he gives me audience."
Then I related to her the story of the attempt in the
Nevski on the previous morning, and the intention of
assassinating the Emperor as he drove from the Nicholas
station to the Palace.
" Ah, yes ! " she cried. "It is all too dreadful.
For seven weeks we have lived in constant terror of
explosions. I could not go through it again for ail the
world. Those days in that stuffy armoured train were
simply awful. His Majesty only undertook the journey
in order to defy those who declared that some terrible
catastrophe would happen. The Empress knew nothing
of the danger until we had started."
" And yet the only danger lay within half a mile
of the Palace on your return," I said. " There have,
I hear, been thirty-three arrested to-d5y, including my
friends Madame de Rosen and Luba. You knew them."
" Mary a de Rosen ! " gasped the Grand Duchess,
staring at me. " She is not under arrest ? "
" Alas ! she is already on her way, with her daughter,
to Eastern Siberia."
" But that is impossible. She was no revolutionist.
I knew them both very intimately."
" General Markoff washer enemy," I said in a whisper.
" Ah, yes ! I hate that man ! " cried Her High-
ness. " He is a clever liar who has worm.ed himself
completely into the Emperor's confidence, and now,
in order to sustain a reputation as a discoverer of plots,
he is compelled to first manufacture them. Hundreds
of innocent men and women have been exiled by ad-
ministrative order during the past twelve months for
comphcity in conspiracies which have never had any
existence save in the wicked imagination of that brutal
official. I know it — / can prove it ! "
THE PRICE OF POWER 43
" Hush ! " I said. " You may be overheard. You
surely do not wish the man to become your enemy.
Remember, he is all-powerful here — in Russia."
" I will speak the truth when the time comes," she
said vehemently. " I will show the Emperor certain
papers which have come into my own hands which will
prove how His Majesty has been misled, tricked and
terrorized by this Markoff, and certain of his bosor*
friends in the Cabinet."
"It is really most unwise to speak so loudly," I
declared. " Somebody may overhear."
" Let them overhear ! " cried the girl angrily. " I
do not fear Markoff in the least. I will, before long,
open the Emperor's eyes, never fear — and justice shall
be done. These poor wretches shall not be sent to the
dungeons beneath the lake at Schusselburg, or to the
frozen wastes of Yakutsk, in order that Markoff shall
remain in power. Ah ! he little dreams how much
I know ! " she laughed harshly.
" It would hardly be wise of you to take any such
action. You might fail — and — then "
" I cannot fail to estabhsh at least the innocence
of Madame de Rosen and of Luba. The reason why
they have been sent to Siberia is simple. Into Madame
de Rosen's possession there recently came certain com-
promising letters concerning General Markoff. He
discovered this, and hence her swift exile without trial.
But, Uncle Colin," she added, " those letters are in my
possession I Madame de Rosen gave them to me the
night before I went south with the Emperor, because
she feared they might be stolen by some police-spy.
And I iiave kept them in a place of safety until such
convenient time when I can place them before His
Majesty. The latter will surely see that justice is done,
and then the disgraceful career of this arch-enemy of
Russian peace and Uberty will be at an end."
44 THE PRICE OF PO\^^R
" Hush ! " I cried anxiously, for at th?.t moment
a tall man, in the bright green uniform of the Lithuanian
Hussars, whose face I could not see, passed close b}- us,
with a handsome middle-aged woman upon his arm.
" Hush ! Do, for heaven's sake, be careful, I beg of
you!" I exclaimed. "Such intention should not
even be whispered. These Palace walls have ears, for
spies are everywhere ! "
THE MAN IN PINCE-NEZ
Next day was Wednesday.
At half-past five in the afternoon I was seated in
mj.' room at the Embassy, busy cop3-ing out the last of
my despatches which were to be sent that v/eek by
Foreign Office messenger to London.
The messenger himself, in the person of m}^ friend
Captain Hubert Taylor, a thin, long-limbed, dark-
haired cosmopolitan, was stretched lazily in my chair
smoking a cigarette, impatient for me to finish, so' that
the white canvas bag could be sealed and he could get
The homeward Xord express to Ostend was due to
leave at six o'clock ; therefore he had not much time
" Do hurry up, old rrian," he urged, glancing at his
watch. "If it isn't important, keep it over until
Wednesday week. Despatches are like wine, they
improve with keeping."
" Shut up ! " I exclaimed, for I saw I had a good deal
yet to copy — the result of an important inquiry regard-
ing affairs south of the Caspian, which was urgently
required at Downing Street. Our Consul in Baku had
THE PRICE OF POWER 45
been travelling for three months in order to supply
" Well, if I miss the train I really don't mind, my
dear Colin. I can do quite well with a few days' rest.
I was down in Rome ten days ago ; and, besides, I
only got here the night before last."
" I do wish you'd be quiet, Taylor," I cried. " I
can't write while you chatter."
So he ht a fresh cigarette and repossessed himself
in patience until at last I had finished my work, stuck
down the long envelope \'vith the printed address, and
placed it with thirty or forty other letters into the canvas
bag ; this I carefully sealed with wax with the Embassy
" There you are ! " I exclaimed at last. " You've
plenty of time for the train — and to spare."
" I shouldn't have had if I hadn't hurried you up,
my dear boy. Everyone seems asleep here. It shows
your chief's away on leave. You should put in a day
in Paris. They're active there. It would be an eye-
opener for you."
" Paris isn't Petersburg," I laughed.
"And an attache isn't a foreign service messenger,"
he declared. " Government pays you fellows to look
ornamental, while we messengers have to travel in hot
haste and hve in those rocldng sleeping-cars of the
" Horribly hard work to spend one's days travelling
from capital to capital," I said, well knowing that
this remark to a foreign service messenger is as a red
rag to a bull.
" Work, my dear fellow. You try it for a month
and see," Ta^ior snapped.
" Well," i asked with a laugh, " any particular
news in London ? " for the messengers are bearers of
all the diplomatic gossip from embassy to embassy*.
46 THE PRICE OF POWER
" Oh, well — old Petheridge, in the Treaty Depart-
ment, is retiring this month, and Jack Scrutton is
going to be transferred from Rome to Lima. Some old
fool in the Commons has, I hear, got wdnd of that bit
of scandal in Madrid — you know the story. Councillor
of Embassy and Spanish Countess — and threatens to
put down a question concerning it. I hear there's a
dickens of a row over it. The Chief is furious. Oh !
— and I saw your Chief in the St. James's Club the day
I left London. He'd just come from Windsor — been
kissing hands, or something. Well," he added, " I
suppose I may as well have some cigarettes before I
go, even though you don't ask me. But they are always
pro bono, I know. The Embassy at Petersburg is always
noted for its hospitahty and its cigarettes ! " And he
emptied the contents of m}^ cigarette-box into the capa-
cious case he took from his pocket.
'' Here you are," I said, taking from my table another
sealed despatch bearing a large blue cross upon it,
sho^^dng that it was a confidential documxcnt in cipher
upon affairs of State.
" Oh, hang ! " he cried. " I didn't know you had
one of those."
And then, unbuttoning his waistcoat, he fumbled
about his waist, and at last placed it carefully in the
narrow pocket of the belt he wore beneath his clothes,
buttoning the flap over the pocket.
" Well," he said at last, putting on his overcoat,
" so long, old man. I'll just have time. I wonder
what old Ivanoff, in the restaurant-car, will have for
dinner to-night ? Bortch, of course, and caviare."
"You fellows have nothing else to think about
but your food," I laughed.
" Food — yes, it's railway-food with a vengeance
in this God-forgotten country. Lots to drink, but
nothing decent to eat."
THE PRICE OF POWER 47
And taking the little canvas bag he shook my hand
heartily and strode out.
I stood for some time gazing through the open window
out upon the sunlit Neva across to the grim fortress
on the opposite bank — the prison of many terrible tales.
My thoughts were running, just as they had run all
day, upon that strange suspicion which the Emperor
had confided to me. It seemed too remarkable, too
strange, too amazing to be true.
And again before my vision there arose the faces of
those two refined and innocent ladies, Madame de
Rosei and her daughter, wfio had been so suddenly
hurried away to a living TOmb in that far-off Arctic
region. I remembered what the little Grand Duchess
had :old me, and wondered whether her allegations were
I 7/diS wondering if she would permit me to see those
i ncr jninating letters which Madame had given to her
fo^ safe-keeping, for at aU costs I felt that, for the safety
of the Emperor and the peace and prosperity of Russia,
tie country should be rid of General Serge Markoff.
x\nd yet the difficulties were, I knew, insurmountable.
His Majesty, hearing of these constant plots being
discovered and ever listening to highly-coloured stories
of the desperate attempts of revolutionists, naturally
beheved his personal safety to 'be due to this man wham
he had appointed as head of the police of the Empire.
To any word said against Serge Markoff he turned a
deaf ear, and put it down to jealousy, or to some in-
genious plot to withdraw from his person the constant
vigilance which his beloved Markoff had. established.
More than once I had been bold enough to venture to
hint that all those plots might not be genuine ones ;
but I had quickly understood that such suggestion was
regarded by the Emperor as a slur cast upon his favourite
official and personal friend.
48 THE PRICE OF POWER
The more I reflected, the more unwise seemed that
sudden outburst of my pretty little companion in the
winter garden on the night before. If anyone had over-
heard her threat, then no doubt it would reach the ears
of that man who daily swept so man}^ innocent persons
into the prisons and. etapes beyond the Urals. I knew,
too well, of those lists of names which he placed before
the Emperor, and to which he asked the Imperial signa-
ture, without even giving His Majesty an opportunity
to glance at them.
Truly, those were dark days. Life in Russia at that
moment was a most uncertain existence, for anyone
incurring the displeasure of General Markoff, or any of
his friends, was as quickly and effectively removed as
though death's sword had struck them.
* Much perturbed, and not knowing how to act iji face
of what the Emperor had. revealed to me, I was timing
from the vvindow back to my writing-table, wher. one
of the English footmen entered, with a card!
" Oh, show him up. Green. And bring sane
cigarettes," I said.
My visitor was Ivan Hartwig, the famous chief of tie
Russian Criminal Detective Service — an entirely dis-
tinct department from the Secret PoUce.
A few moments later he was ushered in by Green,
and, bovring, took the hand I offered him.
A lean, bony-faced man, of average height, alert,
clean-shaven, and aged about forty-five. His hair
was slightly streaked with grey, and his eyes, small
a.nd shrewd, beamed behind a pair of round gold-rimmed
pince-nez. I had never seen him in glasses before,
but I only supposed that he had suddenly developed
myopia for some specific purpose. As he smiled in
greeting me, his narrow jaws widened, displaying an
even row of white teeth, while the English he spoke was
as perfect as my ovvn. At that moment, in his glasses.
THE PRICE OF POWER 49
his black morning-coat and grey trousers, he looked
mora like a grave family physician than a police officer
whose career was world-famous.
And yet he was a man of striking appearance. His
'-^road white forehead, his deep-set eyes so full of fire
rid expression, his high, protruding cheek-bones, and
his narrowing chin were all characteristics of a man of
remarkable power and intelligence. His, indeed, was
a face that would arrest attention an\'^vhere ; hence the
hundred and one disguises which he so constantly adopted.
" I have had private audience of His Majesty this
afternoon, Mr. Trewinnard," he said, as he took the chair
I offered him. " He has sent me to you. You wish to
" Yes," I said. " I need your assistance."
" So His Majesty has told me, but he explained
nothing of the affair. He commanded me to place
myself entirely at your disposal," replied the man,
who, in himself, was a man of mystery.
His nationality was obscure to most people, yet
we at the Embassy knew that he was in reality a
British subject, and. that Ivan Hartwig was merely
the Russian equivalent of Evan Hardwicke.
I handed him the box of cigarettes v/hich Green
■lad replenished, and took one myself.
As he slowly lit his, I recollected what a strange
career he had had. Graduating from Scotland Yard,
where on account of his knowledge of German and
Russian he had been mainly employed in the arrest of
alien criminals in England, he had for several years
served under Monsieur Goron, Prefet of Police of Paris,
and after being attached to the Tzar on one of his
visits to the French capital, had been personally invited
by the Emperor to become head of the Criminal Investi-
gation Department of Russia.
He was a quiet-spoken, alert, elusive, but very
50 THE PRICE OF POWER
conscientious man, who had made a study of crime
from a psychological standpoint, his many successes
being no doubt due to his marvellously minute examina-
tion of motives and his methodical reasoning upon the
most abstruse clues. There was nothing of the ordinary
blunt official detective about him. He was a man of
extreme refinement, an omnivorous reader and a dihgent
student of men. He was a passionate collector of coins,
a bachelor, and an amateur player of the violin. I
believe that he had never experienced what fear was,
and certainly withm my ovrn knowledge, he had had
a dozen narrow escapes from the vengeance of the
Terrorists, Once a bomb was purposely exploded in a
room into which he and his men went to arrest two
students in Moscow, and not one present escaped death
except Hartwig himself.
And as he now sat there before me, so quiet and
attentive, blinking at me through those gold-rimmed
pince-nez, none would certainly take him for the man
whose hairbreadth escapes, constant disguises, exciting
adventures and mar\'ellous successes in the tracking
of criminals all over Europe had so often amazed the
readers of newspapers the world over.
" Well, Mr. Hartwig," I said in a low voice, after
I had risen and satisfied myself that Green had closed
the door, " the matter is one of strictest confidence —
a suspicion which I may at once tell you is the Emperor's
own personal affair. To myself alone he has confided
it, and I requested that you might be allowed to assist
me in finding a solution of the problem."
"I'm much gratified," he said. " As an English-
man, you know, I believe, that I am ever ready to serve
an Englishman, especially if I am serving the Emperor
at the same time."
" The inquiry will take us far afield, I expect — first
THE PRICE OF POWER . 51
" To England ! " he exclaimed. " For how long do
you anticipate ?
" Who knows ? " I asked. " I can only say that it
v.ill be a ven' difficult and perhaps a long inquiry."
" And how wall the department proceed here ? "
" Your next in command will be appointed in your
place until your return. The Emperor arranged for
this with me yesterday. Therefore, from to-morrow
you will be free to place yourself at my service."
" I quite understand," he said. " And now, perhaps,
you will in confidence explain exactly the situation,
a.nd the problem which is presented," and he settled
himself in his chair in an attitude of attention.
" Ah ! that, I regret, is unfortunately impossible.
The Emperor has entrusted the affair to me, and to
me alone. I must direct the inquiry, and you will,
I fear, remain in ignorance — at least, for the present."
" In other words, you will direct and I must act
bhndly — eh ? " he said in a rather dubious voice.
" That's hardly satisfactory to me, Mr. Trewinnard, is
it ? — hardly fair, I mean."
" I openly admit that such an attitude as I am
compelled to adopt is not fair to you, Hartwig. But
I feel sure you will respect the Emperor's confidence,
and view the matter in its true hght. The matter is
a personal one of His Majesty's, and may not be
divulged. He has asked me to tell you this frankly
and plainly, and also that he relies upon 3'OU to assist
My words convinced the great detective, and h-e
nodded at last in the affirmative.
" The problem I alone know," I went on. *' His
Majesty has compelled me to swear secrecy. Therefore
I am forbidden to tell you. You understand ? "
" But I am not forbidden to discover it for myself ? "
repUed the keen, wary official.
52 THE PRICE OF POWER
" If you do, I cannot help it," was my reply.
"If I do," h^ said, " I promise 3-ou faithfully, Mr.
Trewinnard, that His Majesty's secret, whatever it is,
shall never pass my lips."
RELATES A SENSATION
Ten days had gone by. I had appHed to Downing
Street for leave of absence, and was awaiting permission.
One afternoon I had again been commanded to
private audience at the PaJace, and in uniform, had spent
nearly two hours ^\■ith the Emperor, listening to certain
confidential instructions which he had given me —
instructions for the fulfilment of a somewhat difficult
Twice during our chat I had referred to the case
of m.y friends Madame and Mademoiselle de Rosen,
hoping that he wculd extend to them the Imperial
clemency, and by a stroke of that well-worn quill upon
the big writing table recaU them from that long and
weary journey upon which they had been sent.
But His Majesty, who was wearing the undress
uniform of a general with a single cross at his throat,
uttered an expression of regret that I had been friendly
" In Russia, in these days, a foreigner should exercise
the greatest caution in choosing his friends," he said.
" Only the day before yesterday Markoff reported it
was to those two Vv'om.en that the attempt in the Nevski
was entirely due. The others, thirt}- or so, were merely
tools of those clever women."
" Forgive me. Your Majesty, when I say that General
Markofi lies," I repHed boldly.
THE PRICE OF POWER 53
" Enough ! Our opinions differ, Trewinnard," he
snapped, with a shrug of his broad shoulders.
It was on the tip of my tongue to make a direct
charge against his favourite official, but what was
the use when I held no actual proof. Twice recently I
had seen Natalia, but she refused to allow me sight
of the letters, teUing me that she intended herself to
show up the General in her own way — and at her o\^'n
So the subject had dropped, for I saw that mention
of it only aroused the Emperor's displeasure. And
surely the other matter which we were discussing with
closed doors was weighty enough.
At last His Majesty tossed his cigarette-end away,
and, his jewelled cross ghttering at his throat, rose
with outstretched hand, as sign that my audience was
at an end.
That eternal militar}- band was playing in the grey
courtyard below, and the Emperor had slammed-to
the window impatiently to keep out the sound. He
was in no mood for musical comedy that afternoon.
Indeed, I knew that the military music often irritated
him, but Court etiquette — those iron-bound, unwritten
laws which even an Emperor cannot break- — demanded
it. Those same laws decreed that no Emperor of
Russia may travel incognito, as do all other European
sovereigns ; that at dinner at the Winter Palace there
must always be eight guests ; and that the service
of gold plate of Catherine the Great must always be
used. At the Russian Court there are a thousand
such laws, the breach of a single one being an unpardon-
able offence, even in the case of the autocratic ruler
" Then you understand my wishes — eh, Trewinnard ?"
His Majesty said at last in English, gripping my hand
54 THE PRICE OF POWER
" Perfectly, Sire."
" I need not impress upon you the need for absolute
and entire discretion. I trust you implicitly."
" I hope Your Majesty's trust will never be betraj'ed,"
I answered fervently, bowing over the strong out-
And then, backing out of the door, I bowed and
Through the long corridor with its soft red carpet
I went, passing Cahtzine, a short, dark man in funereal
black, the Emperor's private secretary, to whom I
passed the time of day.
Then, reaching the grand staircase with its wonderful
marble and gold balustrades and great chandeliers
of crj'stal, I descended to the huge hall, where the
echoes were constantly aroused by hunydng footsteps
of ministers, of&cials, chamberlains, courtiers and
ser^^ants — all of them sycophants.
The two gigantic sentries at the foot of the stairs
lield their rifles at the salute as I passed between them,
when of a sudden I caught sight of the Grand Duchess
NataHa in a pretty summer gown of pale blue, standing
with a tall, full-bearded elderly man in the briUiant
uniform of the 15th Regiment of Grenadiers of Tiflis, of
which he was chief, and wearing many decorations. It
was her father, the Grand Duke Nicholas.
'' Wliy, here's old Uncle Colin ! " cried m}' incorrigible
little friend in pleased surprise. " Have j-ou been up
with the Emperor ? "
I rephed in the affirmative, and, bowing, greeted
His Imperial Highness, her father, with whom I had
long been on friendly terms.
" WTiere are you going ? " asked the \-ivacious young
lady quickly as she rebuttoned her long white glove,
for they had, it seemed, been on a \4sit to the Empress.
*' I have to go to the opening of the new wing of the
THE PRICE OF POWER 55
Naval Hospital," I said. " And I haven't much time
" We are going there, too. I have to perfonn the
opening ceremony in place of the Emperor," repHed
the Grand Duke. " So drive with us."
" That's it, Uncle CoUn ! " exclaimed his daughter.
" Come out for an airing. It's a beautiful afternoon,"
So we went forth into the great courtyard, where
one of the Imperial state carriages, an open one, was
in waiting, drawn by four fine, long-tailed Caucasian
Behind it was a troop of mounted Cossacks to act
We entered, and the instant the bare-headed flunkeys
had closed the door the horses started off, and we
swung out of the handsome gateway into the wide
Place, in the centre of which stood the grey column of
Peter the Great.
Turning to the left we went past the Alexander
Gardens, now parched and dusty with summer heat,
and skirted the long facade of the War Office.
" I wonder what tales you've been telling the Emperor
about me, Uncle Colin ? " asked the impudent little
lady, laughing as we drove along, I being seated opposite
the Grand Duke and his daughter.
" About you ? " I echoed with a smile. "Oh,
nothing, I assure you — or, at least, nothing that was
" You're a dear, I know," declared the girl, her
father laughing amusedly the wliile. " But you are
so dreadfully proper. You're worse about etiquette
than father is — and he's simply horrid. He won't ever
let me go out shopping alone, and I'm surely old enough
to do that ! "
" You're quite old enough to get into mischief,
Tattie," replied her father, speaking in French.
56 THE PRICE OF POWER
" I love mischief. That's the worst of it," and she
" Yes, quite true — the worst of it, for me," declared
His Imperial Highness. " I thought that when you went
to school in England they would teach you manners."
" Ordinary manners are not Court manners," the
girl argued, tr^dng to rebutton one of her gloves which
had come unfastened.
" Let me do it," I suggested, and quickly fastened it.
" Thank you," she laughed with mock dignity.
" How charming it is to have such a polished diplomat
as Mr. Colin Trewinnard to do nice things for one.
Now, isn't that a pretty speech ? I suppose I ought
to study smart things to say, and practise them on the
dog — as father does sometimes."
" Really, Tattie, you forget yourself, my dear,"
exclaimed her father, with distinct disapproval.
" Well, that's nothing," declared my charming
little companion. " Don't parsons practise preaching
their sermons, and lawyers and statesmen practise
their clever untruths ? You can't expect a woman's
mouth to be full of sugar-plums of speech, can you ? "
• My eyes met those of the Grand Duke, and we both
burst out laughing at the girl's quaint philosophy.
" Why, even the Emperor has his speeches composed
and v/ritten for him by silly old Calitzine," she went
on. " And at Astrakhan the other day I composed a
most telling and patriotic speech for His Maje ty, which
he delivered when addressing the of&cers of the Army
of the Volga. I sat on my horse and listened. The
old generals and colonels, and all the rest of them,
applauded vociferously, and the men threw their caps
in the air. I wonder if they would haye done this had
they known that I had written those v/ell-turned patri-
otic sentences, I — a mere chit of a girl, as father
sometimes tells me 1 "
THE PRICE OF POWER 57
" And the terror of the Imperial family," I venli:red
"Thank you for your complimtnt, Uncle Colin,"
she laughed.' " I know father endorses your sentiments.
I see it in his face."
" Oh, do try and be serious, Tattie," he urged. " See
all those people 1 Salute them, and don't laugh so
vulgarly." And he raised his white-gloved hand to his
shining helmet in recognition of the shouts of wekcme
rising from those assembled along our route.
Whereat she bowed gracefully again with that slight
and rather frigid smile which she had been taught to
assume on public occasions.
" If I put up my sunshade they won't se: me, and
it will avoid t^uch a lot of trouble," she exclaimed
suddenly, and she put up her pretty parasol, which
matched her govrn and softened the light upon her
"Oh, no, Uncle Colin ! " she exclaimed suddenl}',
as we turned the ccrner into the Yosnesenskaya, a
long, straight street where the throng, becoming greater,
was kept back by lines of police in their gre\' coats,
peaked caps and revolvers. " I know what you are
thinking. But it isn't so. Tm not in the least afraid
of spoiling my complexion."
" Then perhaps it is a pity you are not," I replied.
" Complexions, like all shining things, tarnish quick!}'."
" Just like reputations, I suppose," she remarked,
whereupon her father could not restrain another
Then again, at word in an undertone from the Grand
Duke, both he and his daughter saluted the crovrd,
cur horses galloping, as they always do in Pvussia, and
cur Cossack-escort clattering beh'nd.
There were .a good many people just at this point,
for it was believed that the Emperor weuld pass on
58 THE PRICE OF POWER
his way to perform the opening ceremony, and his
loyal subjects were waiting to cheer him.
On every hand, the people, recognizing the popular
Grand Duke and his daughter, set up hurrahs, and while
His Imperial Highness saluted, his pretty daughter,
the most admired girl in Russia, bowed, and I, in
accordance with etiquette, made no sign of acknowledg-
As we came to the narrow bridge which .spans the
canal, the road was flanked on the left by the Alexander
Market, and here was another huge crowd.
Loud shouts of welcome in Russian broke forth
from those assembled, for the Grand Duke and his
daughter were every^where greeted most warmly.
But as we passed the market, the police keeping
back the crowd, I saw a thin, middle-aged man in dark
clothes lift his hand high above his head. Something
came in our direction, yet before I had time to realize
his action a blood-red flash blinded me, my ears v/ere
deafened by a terrific report, a hot, scorching breath
swept across my face, and I felt myself hurled far into
space amid the mass of falling debris.
It all occurred in a single instant, and I knew no
more. I had a distinct feeling that some terrific
explosion had knocked the breath clean out of my
body. I recollect seeing the carriage rent into a
thousand fragments just at the same instant that black
unconsciousness fell upon me.
TELL3 TRAGIC TRUTHS
When, with extreme difficulty, I slowly struggled back
to a knowledge of things about me, I found myself,
to my great surprise, in a narrow hospital-bed, with a
THE PRICE OF POWER 59
holy ikon upon the whitewashed wall before me, and
a Red Cross sister bending tenderly over me.
Beside her stood two Russian doctors regarding me
very gravely, and at their side was Saunderson, our
Councillor of Embassy.
" Well, how are you feeling now, Colin, old man ? "
the latter whispered cheerfully.
" I— I don't know. Where am I ? " I a-sked.
" What's happened ? "
" My dear fellow, you can thank your lucky stars
that you've escaped from the bomb," he said.
" The bomb ! " I gasped, and then in a flash all
the horrors of that sudden explosion crowded upon
me. " What happened ? " I inquired, trying to raise
myself, and finding my head entirely enveloped in
surgical bandages. " What happened to the others ? "
" The Grand Duke was, alas ! killed, but his daughter
fortunately escaped only v/ith a scratch on her arm,"
was his reply. " The carriage was blown to atoms,
the two horses and their driver and footman were
killed, while three Cossacks of the escort were also
killed and two injured."
" Then — then she — she is alive ! " I managed t©
gasp dazed at the tragic truth he had related to me.
" Yes — it was a desperate attempt. Fifteen arrests
have been made up to the present."
And while he was speaking, Captain Stoyanovitch
advanced to my bedside, and leaning over, asked in a
low voice :
" How are you, Trewinnard ? The Emperor has
sent me to inquire."
" Tell His Majesty that I — I thank him. I'm getting
round — I — I hope Ell soon be well. I — I "
" That's right. Take great care of yourself, mon
cher," he urged.
And then the doctors ordered my visitors away, and
60 THE PRICE OF POWER
I sank am Dag my pillows- into a state of semi-cou-
How long I lay thus I do not know. I remember
seeing soldiers come and go, and at length discovered
that I was in the hospital attached to the artillery
barracks on the road to Warsaw Station. Beside me
always sat a grave-eyed nursing sister, silent and
watchful, while ever and anon one or other of the doctors
would approach, bend over me, and inquire of her my
Saunderson came again some hours later. It was then
night. And from him, now that I was completely con-
scious, I learnt how, after the explosion, the police
had in the confusion shot down two men, afterwards
proved to be innocent spectators, and made wholesale
indiscriminate arrests. It was beUeved, however, that
the man I had seen, the perpetrator of the dastardly
act, had escaped scot-free.
Dozens of windows in the market-hall opposite where
the outrage was committed had been smashed, and many
people besides the killed and injured had been thrown
down by the terrific force of the explosion.
" The poor Grand Duke Nicholas has, alas ! been
shattered out of recognition," he told me. " His body
was taken at once to his palace, where it now lies,
while you were brought here together with the Grand
Duchess Nataha. But her wound being quite a slight
one, was dressed, and she was driven at once to the
Winter Palace, at the order of the Emperor. Poor
child ! I hear that she is utterly prostrated by the
fearful sight which her father presented to her eyes."
I drew a long breath.
" I suppose I was struck on the head by soine of the
debris and knocked insensible— eh ? " I asked.
" Yes, probably," he replied. " But the doctors
say the wound is only a superficial one, and in a week's
THE PRICE OF POWER Gl
time you'll be quite right again. So cheer up, old chap.
You'U get the long leave which you put in for the other
da}', and a bit more added to it, no doubt."
" But this state of things is terrible," I declared,
shifting myself upon my side so that I could better
look into his face. " Surely the revolutionists could have
had no antagonism towards the Grand Duke Nicholas !
He was most popular everywhere."
" My dear fellow, who can gauge the state of the
Russian mind at this moment ? Plots seem to be of
" If you beUeve the reports of the Secret Police.
But I, for one, don't," I declared frankly.
" No, no," he said reprovingly. " Don't excite your-
self. Be thankful that you've escaped. You might
have shared the same fate as those poor Cossacks."
" I know," I said. " I thank God that I was spared.
But it will be in the London papers, no doubt. Renter's
man will send it ; therefore, will you wire to my mother
at once. You know her address — Hayford Manor, near
Newquay, Cornwall. Wire in my name, and tell her
that the affair is greatly exaggerated, and that I'm all
right, will you ? "
I knew with what eagerness my aged mother always
followed all my movements, for I made it a practice
to write to her twice every week with a full report of
my doings. I was as devoted to her as she was to me.
And perhaps that accounted for the fact that I had never
married. My father, the Honourable Colin Trewinnard,
had been one of the largest landowners in Cornwall, and
my family was probably one of the oldest in the county.
But evil times had fallen upon the estate in the last
years of my father's hfe ; depreciation in the value
of agricultural land, failing crops and foreign competi-
tion had ruined farming, and now the income was not
62 THE PRICE OF POWER
one-half that it had been fifty years before. Yet it
was sufficient to keep my mother and myself in comfort ;
and this, in addition to my pay from the Foreign Office,
rendered me better off than a great many other men in
Through Stoyanovitch, on the following morning, I
received a message from Natalia. He said :
" Her Highness, whom I saw in the Palace an hour
ago, told me to say that she sent you her best wishes
for a speedy recovery. She is greatly grieved over the
death of her father, and, of course, the Court has gone
into mourning for sixty days. She told me to tell
you that as soon as you are able to return to the Embassy
she wishes to see you on a very important matter/'
" Tell her that I am equally anxious to see her, and
that she has all my sympathy in her sad bereavement,"
" Terrible, wasn't it ? " the Imperial equerry ex-
claimed. " The poor girl looks white, haggard and
" No wonder — after such an awful experience."
" There were, I hear, twenty more arrests to-day.
Markoff had audience with His Majesty at ten o'clock
this morning, and eight of the prisoners of yesterday
have been sent to Schusselburg."
" From which they will never emerge," I said, with a
shudder at the thought of that hving tomb as full of
horrors as was the Bastille itself.
" Well, I don't see why they should, my dear friend,"
the Captain rephed. " If I had had such an experience
as yours, I shouldn't feel very lenient towards them —
as you apparently do."
" I am not thinking of the culprit," I said. " He
certainly deserves a death-sentence. It is the innocents
who, here in Russia, suffer for the guilty, with whom
I deeply sympathize. Every day unoffending men and
THE PRICE OF POWER 63
women are arrested wholesale in this drastic, unrelent-
ing sweeping away of prisoners to Siberia. I tell you
that half of them are loyal, law-abiding subjects of the
The elegant equerry-in-waiting only grinned and
shrugged his shoulders. He was too good a Russian
to adopt such an argument. As personal attendant
upon His Majesty, he, of course, supported the Im-
" This accursed system of police-spies and agents-
provocateurs manufactures criminals. Can a man
wrongly arrested and sent to the mines remain a
loyal subject ? "
" The many have to suffer for the few. It is the same
in all lands," was his reply. " But really the matter
doesn't concern me, my dear Trewinnard."
" It win concern you one day when you are blown up
as I have been," I exclaimed savagely.
Shortly afterwards he left, and for hours I lay think-
ing, my eyes upon that square gilt holy picture before
me, the ikon placed before the eyes of every patient in
the hospital. Nurses in grey and soldiers in white
cotton tunics passed and repassed through the small
ward of which I was the only occupant.
The pains in my head were excruciating. I felt
as though my skull had been filled with boiling water.
Sometimes my thoughts were perfectly normal, yet at
others my mind seemed fuU of strange, almost ridiculous
phantasies. My whole career, from the days when I
had been a clerk in that sombre old-fashioned room at
Downing Street, through my service at Madrid, Brussels,
Berhn and Rome to Petersburg — aU went before me,
like a cinema-picture. I looked upon myself as others
saw me — as a man never sees himself in normal circum-
stances — a mere struggling entity upon the tide of that
sea of life caUed To-day.
64 THE PRICE OF POWER
We are so very apt to think ourselves indispensable
to the world. Yet we have only to think again, and
remember that the unknown to-morrow may bring, us
deatti, and with it everlasting oblivion, as far as this
world is concerned. Queen Victoria and Pope Leo XIII.
were the two greatest figures of our time ; yet a month
after their deaths people had to recall who they were,
and what they had actually done to earn distinction.
These modem daj-s of rush and hurry are forgetful,
irresponsible days, when public opinion is manufactured
by those who rule the halfpenn}^ press, and when the worst
and most baneful commodities may be foisted upon the
public by m.eans of efficient advertisement.
The cleverest swindler may by payment become a
baronet of England, even a peer of the realm, providing
he subscribes sufficient to Somebody's Newspaper
Publicity Agency ; and any blackguard with money
or influence may become a Justice of the Peace and
sentence his fellov/s to fourteen days' imprisonment.
But the reader will forgive me. Perhaps remarks
such as these ill become a diplomat- — one who is sup-
posed to hold no personal opinions. Yet I assert that
to-day there is no diplomat serving Great Britain in a
foreign country who is not tired and disgusted with his
country's antiquated methods and her transparent
The papers speak vigorously of Britain's power,
but men in my service — those who know real inter-
national truths — smxile at the defiant and well-balanced
sentences of the m.odern journalist, whose blissful
ignorance of the truth is ofttimes so pathetic. Yes, it
is only the diplomat serving at a foreign Court who can
view Great Britain from afar, and accurately gauge
her position among modern nations.
For ten days I remained in that whitewashed ward,
man}^ of my friends visiting me, and Stoyanovitch coming
THE PRICE OF POWER 65
daily with a pleasant message from His Majesty. Then
one bright morning the doctors declared me to be fit
enough to drive back to the Embassy.
An hour later, with my head still bandaged, I was
seated in my own room, in my own big leather armchair,
with the July sun streaming in from across the Neva.
Saunderson was sitting with me, describing the
great pomp of the funeral of the Grand Duke Nicholas,
and the service at the Isaac Church, at which the
Tzar, the Court, and all the corps diplomatique had
" By the way," he added, " a note came for you
this morning," and he handed me a black-edged letter,
bearing on the envelope the Imperial arms embossed
I tore it open and found it to be a neatly-written
little letter from the Grand Duchess Natalia, asking
me to allow her to call and see me as soon as ever
I returned to the Embassy.
" I must see you. Uncle Colin," she wrote. " It
is most pressing. So do please let me come. Send
me word, and I will come instantly. I cannot write
anything here. / must see you at once ! "
DESCRIBES A MYSTERIOUS INXIDEXT
Two days later, the ugly bandages having been removed
from my head, Natalia was seated in the afternoon in
Exquisitely neat in her dead black, with the long
crape veil, she presented an altogether different appear-
ance to the radiant girl who had sat before me on that
fatal drive. Her sweet face was now pale and drawn,
66 THE PRICE OF POWER
and by the dark rings about her eyes I saw how full of
poignant grief her heart had lately been.
She had taken off her long, black gloves and settled
herself cosily in my big armchair, her tiny patent-
leather shoe, encasing a shapely silk-clad ankle, set
forth beneath the hem of her black skirt.
" I was so terrified, Uncle Colin, that you were also
dead ! " the girl was saying in a low, sympathetic voice,
after I had expressed my deepest regret regarding the
unfortunate death of her father, to whom she had been
" I suppose I had a ver}' narrow escape," I said cheer-
fully. " You camiC out best of all."
" By an absolute miracle. The Emperor is furious.
Twenty of those arrested have already been sent to
Schusselburg," she said. " Only yesterday, he told me
that he hoped you would be well enough in a day or two
to go to the Palace. I w^as to tell you how extremely
anxious he is to see you as soon as possible."
" I will obey the command at the earliest moment
I am able," I replied. *'' But how horribly unfortunate
all this is," I went on. " I fully expected that you
v/ould be in England by this time."
'* As soon as you are ready, Uncle Colin, I can go.
The Emperor has already told me that he has placed
me under your guardianship. That you are to be my
equerry. Isn't it fun ? " she cried, her pretty face
suddenly brightening with pleasure. " Fancy you !
dear old uncle, being put in charge of me — your naughty
niece ! "
*' His Majesty \\'ished it," I said. ''He thinks you
will be better away from Court for a time. Therefore,
I have promised to accept the responsibility. For one
year you are to live incognito in England, and I have
been appointed your equerry and guardian — and," I
added very seriously, " I hope that my naughty niece
THE PRICE OF POWER 67
will really behave herself, and do nothing which will
cause me either annoyance or distress."
" ril really try and be very good, Uncle Colin," declared
the girl with mock demureness, and laughing mis-
chievously. " Believe me, I will."
" It all remains with you," I said. " Remember I
do not wish it to be necessary that I should furnish any
unfavourable report to the Emperor. I want us to
understand each other perfectly from the outset. Re-
collect one point always. Though you may be known
in England as Miss Gottorp, yet remember that 3'ou
are of the Imperial family of Russia, and niece of the
Emperor. Hence, there must be no flirtations, no
clandestine meetings or love-letters, and such-like, as
in the case of young Hamborough."
" Please don't bring up that affair," urged the little
madcap. " It is all dead, buried and forgotten long ago."
" Very well," I said, looking straight into her big,
velvety eyes so full of expression. " But remember
that your affection is absolutely forbidden except to-
wards a man of your own birth and station."
" I know," she cried, with a quick impatience. " I'm
unlike any other girl. I am forbidden to speak to a
" Not in England. Preserve your incognito, and
nobody will know. At His Majesty's desire, I have
obtained leave of absence from the service for twelve
months, in order to become your guardian."
" Well, dear old Uncle Colin, you are the only person
I would have chosen. Isn't that nice of me to say so ? "
she asked, with a tantalizing smile.
" But I tell you I shall show you no leniency if you
break any of the rules which must, of necessity, be laid
down," I declared severely. " As soon as I find myself
well enough, you will take Miss West, your old governess,
and Davey, your English maid, to England, and I v>ill
68 THE PRICE OF POWER
come and render you assistance in settling down some-
where in comfort/'
" At Eastbourne ? " she cried in enthusiasm. " We'll
go there. Do let us go there ? "
" Probably at Brighton," I said quietly. " It would
be gayer for you, and — well, I will be quite frank — I
think there are one or two young men whom you know
in Eastbourne. Hence it is not quite to your adv^antage
to return there."
She pouted prettily in displeasure.
'' Brighton is within an hour of London, as 3'ou know,"
I went on, extolling the praises of the place.
" Oh, yes, I know it. We often went over from
Eastbourne, to concerts and things. There's an
aquarium there, and a sea-side railway, and lots of
trippers. I remember the place perfectly. I love to
see your English trippers. The}' are such fun, and they
seem to enjoy themselves so much more than we ever
do. I wonder how it is — they enjoy their freedom, I
suppose, while we have no freedom."
" Weil," I said cheerfully, " in a week or ten days I
hope I shall be quite fit to travel, and then we will set
out for England."
" Yes. Let us go. The Emperor leaves for Peterhof
on Saturday. He will not return to Petersburg until
the \nnter, and the Court moves to Tzarskoie-Selo on
" Then I will see His Majesty before Saturday,"
I said. " But, tell me, why did Your Highness write
to me so urgently three days ago ? You said you
wished to see me at once."
The girl sprang from her chair, crossed to the door,
and made certain it was closed.
Then, glancing around as though apprehensive of
eavesdroppers, she said :
" I wanted to tell you. Uncle Cohn, of something
THE PRICE OF POWER 6f
very, very curious which happened the other evening.
AbHDut ten o'clock at night I was with Miss West in
the blue boudoir — you know the room in our palace,
you've been in it."
" I remember it perfectly," I said.
" Well, I went upstairs to Davey for my smelling-
salts as Miss West felt faint, and as I passed along
the corridor I saw, in the moonlight, in my own room
a dark xigur i moving by the window. It was a man.
I saw him searching the drawers of my little writing-
table, examining the contents by means of an electric-
torch. I made no sound, but out of curiosity, drew
back and watched him. He was reading all my letters
— searching for something which he apparently could
not find. My first impulse was to ring and give the
alarm, for though I could not see the individual's face,
I knew he must be a thief. Still, I watched, perhaps
rather amused at the methodical examination of my
letters which he was making, all unconscious that he was
being observed, until suddenly at a noise made by a
servant approaching from the other end of the corridor,
he started, liung back the letters into the drawer, and
mounting to the open window, got out and disappeared.
I shouted and rushed after him to the window, but he
had gone. He must have dropped about twelve feet
on to the roof of the ball-room and thus got away.
" Several servants rushed in, and the sentries were
alarmed," she went on. " But when I told my story,
it was apparent that I was not believed. The drawer
in the writing-table had been reclosed, and as far as
we could see aU was in perfect order. So I beUeve they
all put it down to my imagination."
" But you are quite certain that you saw the man
there ? " I said, much interested in her story.
" Quite. He was of middle height, dressed in dark
clothes, and wore a cloth peaked cap, like men wear
70 THE PRICE OF POWER
when golfing in England," she replied. " He was
evidently in search of something I had in my writing-
table, but he did not find it. Nevertheless, he read a
quantity of my letters mostly from school-friends."
" And your love-letters ? " I asked, with a smile.
" Well, if the fellow read any of them," she laughed,
** I hope he was ver^^ much edified. One point is quite
plain. He knew English, for my letters were nearly
all in English."
" Some spy or other, I suppose."
" Without a doubt," she said, clasping her white
hands before her and raising her wonderful eyes to
mine. " And do you know. Uncle Colin, the affair
has since troubled me very considerably. I wanted
to see you and hear your opinion regarding it."
" My opinion is that your window ought not to
have been left open."
" It had not been. The maid whose duty it is to
close the windows on that floor one hour before sunset
every day has been closely questioned, and declares
that she closed and fastened it at seven o'clock."
" Servants are not always truthful," I remarked
" But the intruder was there with some distinct
purpose. Don't you think so ? "
" Without a doubt. He was endeavouring to learn
some secret which Your Highness possesses. Cannot
you form any theory what it can be ? Try and reflect."
" Secret ! " she echoed, opening her eyes wide.
** I have no secrets. Everybody tells me I am far too
" Here, in Russia, ever^'one seems to hold, secrets
of some character or other, social or political, and
spies are every\vhere," I said. " Are you quite certain
you have never before seen the intruder ? "
" I could only catch the silhouette of his figure
THE PRICE OF POWER 71
against the moonlight, yet, to tell the truth, it struck
me at that moment that I had seen him somewhere
b^efore. But where, I could not recollect. He read
each letter through, so he must have known English
very well, or he could not have read so quickly."
" But did you not tell me in the winter garden of the
Palace, on the night of the last Court ball, that Marya
de Rosen had given you certain letters — letters which
reflected upon General Markoff ? " I asked.
She sat erect, staring at me open-mouthed in sudden
recollection. " Why, I never thought of that ! " she
gasped. " Of course ! It was for those letters the
fellow must have been searching."
" I certainly think so — without the shadow of a doubt."
" Madame de Rosen feared lest they should be stolen
from her, and. she gave them oVer to me — three of them
sealed up in an envelope," declared my dainty little
companion. " She expressed apprehension lest a
domiciliary visit be made to her house by the police,
when the letters in question might be discovered and
seized. So she asked me to hold them for her."
" And what did you do with them ? "
" I hid them in a place where they will never be
found," she said ; " at a spot where nobody would even
suspect. But somebody must be aware that she gave
them to me for safe-keeping. How could they possibly
know ? "
" I think Your Highness was — well, just a little
indiscreet on the night of the Court ball," I said.
" Don't you recollect that you spoke aloud when
other people were in the winter garden, and that I
queried the judiciousness of it ? "
" Ah ! I remember now ! " she exclaimed, her
face suddenly pale and serious. " I recollect what I
said. Somebody must have overheard me."
" And that somebody told Serge Markoff himself
72 THE PRICE OF POWER
— the man who was poor Madame de Rosen's enemy,
emd who has sent both her and Luba to their graves
far away in Eastern Siberia." i
" Then you think that he is anxious to regain posses-
sion of those letters ? "
" I think that is most probable, in face of your
statement that you intend placing them before the
Emperor. Of course, I do not know their nature,
but I feel that they must reflect very seriously upon
His Maj"est3''s favourite official — the oppressor of Russia.
You still have them in your possession ? " I asked.
" Yes, Uncle Cohn. I feared lest some spy might
find them, so I went up to my old nursery on the top
floor of the Palace — a room which has not been used
for years. In it stands my old doll's house — a big,
dusty affair as tall as myself. I opened it and placed
the packet in the little wardrobe in one of the doll's
bedrooms. It is still there. I saw it only yesterday."
" Be very careful that no spy watches you going
to that disused room. You cannot exercise too much
caution in this affair," I urged seriousty.
"I am always cautious," she assured me. " I
distrust more than one of our servants, for I beheve
some of them to be in Markoff's pay. All that we do
at home is carried at once to the Emperor, while I am
watched at every turn."
" True ; only we foreign diplomats are exempt
from this pestilential surveillance and the clever plots
of the horde of agents-provocateurs controlled by the aU-
" But what shall I do. Uncle Colin ? " asked the girl,
her white hands clasped in her lap.
" If you think it wise to place the letter before the
Emperor, I should certainly lose no time in doing so,"
I repUed. " It may soon be too late. Spies wiU leave
no hole or corner in your father's palace unexamined."
THE PRICE OF POWER 73
'■ You think there really is urgency ? " she asked.
I looked my charming companion straight in the face
and rephed :
"I do. If you value your Hfe, then I would urge
vou at once to get rid of the packet which poor Madame
de Rosen entrusted to you."
" But I cannot place it before the Emperor just
at present," the girl exclaimed. " I promised secrecy
to Marya de Rosen."
" Then you knew something of the subject to which
those letters refer — eh ? "
" I know something of it."
" Why not pass them on to me ? They will be quite
secure here in the Embassy safe. Russian spies dire
not enter here — upon this bit of British soil."
" A good idea," she said quickly. " I will. I'll
go home and bring them back to you."
And in a few minutes she rose and with a merry
laugh left me to descend to her carriage, which was
waiting out upon the quay.
I stood looking out of the window as she drove away.
I was thinking— thinking seriously over the Emperor's
Two visitors followed her, the French naval attache,
and afterwards old Madime Neilidoff, the Society leader
of Moscow, who called to congratulate me upon my
escape, and to invite me to spend my convalescence
at her country estate at Sukova. With the stout,
ugly old lady, who spoke French with a dreadfully
nasal intonation and possessed a distinct moustache,
I chatted for nearly an hour, as we sipped our tea with
lemon, when almost as soon as she had taken her de-
parture the door was flung open unceremoniously and
the Grand Duchess Natalia burst in, her beautiful
face blanched to the Hps.
" Uncle Colin ! Something horrible has happened ;
74 THE PRICE OF POWER
Those letters have gone ! " she gasped in a hoarse whis-
per, staring at me.
" Gone ! " I echoed, starting to my feet in dismay.
" Yes. They've been stolen — stolen ! "
THE LITTLE GRAND DUCHESS
In the golden September sunset, the long, wide promen-
ade stretching beside the blue sea from Brighton towards
the fashionable suburb of Hove was agog with \4sitors.
A cloudless sk}^, a glassy sea flecked by the white
sails of pleasure 3'achts, and ashore a crowd of well-
dressed promenaders, the majority of whom were
Londoners who, stifled in the dusty streets, were now
seeking the fresh sea air of the Channel.
I had dressed leisurely for dinner in the Hotel
Metropole, where I had taiken up my abode, and about
seven o'clock descended the steps, and, crossing the
King's Road to the asphalted promenade, set out to
walk westward towards Hove.
Many things had happened since that weU-remem-
bered afternoon in July when Xataha had discovered
the clever theft of Madame de Rosen's letters, and I
had, an hour later, ill though I was, sent to His Majesty
that single word " Bathildis " and w^as granted
WTien I told him the facts he appeared interested,
paced the room, and then snapped his fingers with
a careless gesture. The little madcap had certainly
annoyed him greatly, and though feigning indifference,
he nevertheless appeared perplexed.
Natalia was called at once and questioned closely ;
she was the soul of honour and would reveal nothing
of the secret. Aftenvards I returned to the Embassy
THE PRICE OF POWER 75
and summoned Hartwig, to inform him of the Grand
Duchess's loss. The renowned pohce official had since
made diUgent inquiry ; indeed, the whole comphcated
machinery of the Russian criminal poUce had been
put into motion, but all to no avail.
The theft was still an entire myster>\
As I approached the Lawns at Hove, those wide,
grassy promenades beside the sea, I saw that many
people were still hngering, enjoying the warm sunset,
although the fashionable hour when women exercise
their pet dogs, and idle men lounge and watch the
crowd, had passed and the band had finished its per-
My mind was filled by many serious apprehensions,
as turning suddenly from the Lawns, I recrossed the
road and entered Brunswick Square, that wide quad-
rangle of big, old-fashioned houses around a large
railed-in garden filled with high oaks and beeches.
Before a drab, newly-painted house with a basement
and art-green blinds, I halted, ascended the steps and
A white-whiskered old man-servant in funereal black
bowed as I entered, and, casting off my overcoat, I
followed the old fellow past a man who was seated
demurel}^ in the hall, to whom I nodded, and up thickly-
carpeted stairs to the big white-enamelled drawing-
room, where Natalia sprang up from a couch of daffodil
silk and came forward to meet me with glad welcome
and outstretched hand.
" Well, Uncle CoUn ! " she cried, " wherever have
you been ? I called for you at the ' Metropole ' the
day before yesterday, and your superb hall-porter told
me that you were in London ! "
" Yes. I had to go up there on some urgent busi-
ness," I said. " I only returned to-day at five o'clock
and received your kind inritation to dine/' and then.
76 THE PRICE OF POWER
turning, I greeted Miss West, the rather thin, elderly
woman who for years had acted as English governess
to Her Imperial Highness — or Miss Gottorp, as she was
now known at Hove. Miss \\'est had been governess
in the Emperor's family for six years before she had
entered the service of the Grand Duchess Nicholas, so
life at Court, with all its stiff etiquette, had perhaps
imparted to her a slightly unnatural hauteur.
Natalia looked inexpressibly sweet in an evening
gown of fine black spotted net, the transparenc}^ of which
about the chest heightened the almost alabaster white-
ness of her skin. She vrore a black aigrette in her hair,
but no jewellery save a single diamond bangle upon her
wrist, an ornament which she always wore.
" Sit down and tell me all the news," she urged,
throw^ing herself into an arm-chair and patting a cushion
near by as indication where I should sit.
" There is no news," I said. " This morning I was
at the Embassy, and they were naturally filled with
curiosity regarding you — a curiosity which I did not
" Young Isvolski is there, isn't he ? " she asked.
" He used to be attached to my pcor father's suite."
" Yes," I replied. " He's third secretary-. He
wanted to know whether you had poHce protection,
and I told him the}^ had sent you another agent from
Petersburg. I suppose it is that m.elancholy m.an I've
just seen sitting in the hall ? "
" Yes. Isn't it horrid ? He sits there all day
long and never moves," Miss West exclaimed. " It
is as though the bailiffs are in the house."
" Bailiffs ? " repeated the girl. " What are they ? "
I explained to ber, whereupon she laughed heartily.
" Hartwig is due in Brighton to-night or tc-miorrow
morning," I said. " I have received a telegram frcm
him, despatched frcm Berlin early }esteid2y morning.
THE PRICE OF POWER 77
But," I added, " I trust that you are finding benefit
from the change."
" I am," she assured me. " I love this place. I
feel so free and so happy here. Miss West and I go
for walks and drives every day, and though a lot of
people stare at me very hard, I don't think they know
who I am. I hope not."
" They admire your Highness's good looks," I ven-
tured to remark. But she made a quick gesture of
impatience, and declared that I only intended sarcasm.
" I suppose Miss West, that all the men turn to
look at Her Highness ? " I said. " Englishmen at the
seaside during the summer are always impressionable,
so they must be forgiven."
" You are quite right, Mr. Trewinnard. It is really
something dreadful. Onl}* to-da}' a 3'omig man — quite
a respectable 3'oung fellow, who was probably a clerk
in the City — followed us the whole length of the
promenade to the West Pier and kept looking into her
" He was really a very nice-looking boy," the girl
declared mischievously. " If I'd been alone he would have
spoken to me. And, oh, I'd have had such ripping fim."
" No doubt you would," I said. " But you knovv^
the rule. You are never upon a-iiy pretext to go out
alone. Besides, you are always under the observation
of a police-agent. You would scarcely care to do any
love-making before him, would you ? "
" Why not ? Those persons are not men — ^they're
only machines," she declared. " The Emperor told
me that long ago."
" Well, take my advice," I urged with a laugh, " and
don't attempt it."
" Oh, of course, Uncle Cohn ; you're simply dreadful.
You're a perfect Saint Anthony. It's too joUy bad/'
78 THE PRICE OF POWTER
" Yes. Perhaps I might be a Saint Anthony where
you are concerned. Still, you must not become a
temptress," I laughed, when at that moment, old
Igor, the butler, entered to announce that dinner was
So we descended the stairs to the big dining-room,
where the table at which she took the head was prettily
decorated with Marshal Neil roses, and, a merry trio,
we ate our meal amid much good-humoured banter
and general laughter.
As she sat beneath the pink-shaded electric lamp
suspended over the table, I thought I had never seen
her looking so inexpressibly charming. Little wonder,
indeed, that 3^oung City men down for a fortnight's
leisure at the seaside, the annual relaxation from their
wear}' work-a-day world of office and suburban railway,
looked upon her in admiration and followed her in order
to feast their eyes upon her marvellous beauty. What
would they have thought, had they but known that the
girl so quieth^ and well dressed in black was of the
bluest blood of Europe, a daughter of the Imperial
That big, old-fashioned house which I had arranged
for her six weeks ago belonged to the widow of a brewery
baronet, a man who had made a great fortune out of
mild dinner-ale. The somev/hat beefy lady — once a
domestic servant — had gone on a vo^^age around the
world and had been pleased to let it furnished for a year.
With her consent I had had the whole place repainted
and decorated, had caused new carpets to be provided,
and in some instances the rooms had been reftu-nished
in modern style, while four of the servants, including
Igor, the butler, and Davey, Her Highness 's maid,
had been brought from her father's palace beside the
For a girl not yet nineteen it was, indeed, quite a
THE PRICE OF POWER 79
unique establishment, Miss West acting as chaperone,
companion and housekeeper.
Seated at the head of the table, the little Grand
Duchess did the honours as, indeed, she had so often
done them at the great table in that magnificent salon
in Petersburg, for being the only child, it had very often
fallen to her lot to help her father to entertain, her
mother having died a month after her birth.
Dinner over, the ladies rose and left, while I
sat to smoke my cigarette alone. Outside in the
hall the undersized, insignificant Httle man in black sat
upon a chair reading the evening paper, and as old
Igor poured out my glass of port I asked him in French
how he hked England.
" Ah ! m'sieur," he exclaimed in his thin, squeaky
voice. " Truly it is most beautiful. We are all so well
here — so much better than in Petersburg. Years ago
I went to London with my poor master, the Grand
Duke. We stayed at Claridge's. M'sieur knot's the
place — eh ? "
" Of course," I said. " But tell me, Igor, since
you've been in Brighton — over a month now — have
you ever met, or seen, anybody you know ? I mean
anyone you have seen before in Petersburg ? "
I was anxious to learn whether young Hambo rough,
Paul Urusoff, or any of the rest, had been in the vicinity.
The old fellow reflected a few moments. Then he
" Of course I saw M'sieur Hartwig three weeks ago.
Also His Excellency the Ambassador when he cam.e
down from London to pay his respects to Her Imperial
" Nobody else ? " I asked, looking seriousi}' into
his grey old face, my wine-glass poised in my hand. \^j^
" Ah, yes ! One evening, three or four days afjo,
I was walking along King's Road, towards Ship Street,
80 THE PRICE OF POWER
when I passed a tall, thin, clean-shaven man in brown,
whose face was quite familiar. I know that I've seen
him many times in Petersburg, but I cannot recall who
or what he is. He looked inquisitively at me for a
moment, and apparently recognizing me, passed on
and then hurriedly crossed the road."
" Was he a gentleman ? " I asked with curiosity.
" He was dressed Hke one, M'sieur. He had on a
dark grey Homburg hat and a fashionable dark brown
" You only saw him on that one occasion ? "
" Only that once. When I returned home I told
Dmitri, the pohce-agent, and described him. You
don't anticipate that he is here with any evil purpose,
I suppose ? " he added quickly.
" I can't tell, Igor. I don't know him. But if
I were you I would not mention it to her Highness.
She's only a girl, remember, and her nerves have been
greatly shaken by that terrible tragedy."
" Rely upon me. I shall saj^ no word, M'sieur,"
Then I rose and ascended to the drawing-room,
where Natalia was seated alone.
" IMiss West will be here in a few minutes," she
said. " TeU me. Uncle CoHn, what have 3'ou been doing
while you've been away — eh ? "
" I had some business in London, and after^vards
went on a flying visit to see my mother down in Corn-
wall," I said.
" Ah ! How is she ? I hope you told her to come
and see me. I would be so very deUghted if she will
come and stay a week or so."
" I gave her Your Highness 's kind message, and
she is writing to thank you. She'll be most delighted
to x-isit you," I said.
" Nothing has been discovered regarding Madame
THE PRICE OF POWER 81
de Rosen's letters, I suppose ? " she asked witii a sigh,
her face suddenly grown grave.
" Hartwig arrives to-night, or to-morrow," I replied.
" We shall then know what has transpired. From his
Majesty he received exphcit instructions to spare no
effort to solve the myster>^ of the theft."
" I know. He told me so when he was here three
weeks ago. He has made every effort. Of all the police
administration I consider Hartwig the most honest and
" Yes," I agreed. " He is "alert alv/ays, marvellously
astute, and, above all, though he has had such an
extraordinary career, he is an Englishman."
"So I have lately heard," replied my pretty com-
panion. " I know he wall do his best on my behalf,
because I feel that I have lost the one piece of evidence
which might have restored poor Mar3^a de Rosen and
her daughter to Hberty."
" You have lost the letters, it is true," I said, looking,
into her splendid eyes. " You have lost them because
it was plainly in the interests of General Markoff, the
Tzar's favourite, that they should be lost. Madame
de Rosen herself feared lest they should be stolen, and
yet a few days later she and Luba were spirited away
to the Unknown. Search was, no doubt, made at her
house for that incriminating correspondence. It could
not be found ; but, alas ! you let out the secret when
sitting out with me at the Court ball. Somebody
must have overheard. Your father's palace was
searched very thoroughly, and the packet at last found "
" The Emperor appeared to be most concerned
about it before I left Russia. Wlien I last saw him at
Tzarskoie-Selo he seemed very pale, agitated and
" Yes," I said. Then, ver}^ slowly, for I confess
I was much perturbed, knowing how we were at that
82 THE PRICE OF POWER
moment hemmed in by our enemies, I added : " This
theft conveyed more to His Majesty than at present
appears to your Highness. It is a starthng coup of
those opposed to the monarchy — the confirmation of a
suspicion which the Emperor beUeved to be his — and
■" A suspicion ! " she exclaimed. " What suspicion ?
Next^ moment Miss West, thin-faced and rather
angular, entered the room, and we dropped our con-
fidences. Then, at my invitation, my dainty little
hostess went to the piano, and running her white
fingers over the keys, commenced to sing in her clear,
well-trained contralto " L'Heure Exquise " of Paul
La lune blanche
Luit dans les bois ;
De chaque branche
Part une voix
Sous la ramee ....
REVEALS TWO FACTS
When I entered my bedroom at the Hotel Metrcpole
it wanted half an hour to midnight. But scarce had
I closed the door when a waiter tapped at it and handed
me a card.
" Show the gentleman up," I said in eager anticipa-
tion, and a few minutes later there entered a tall, thin,
clean-shaven, rather aristocratic-looking man in a dark
brown suit — the same person whom old Igor had
evidently recognized wadking along King's Road.
" Well, Tack ? So you are here with your report
— eh ? " I asked.
THE PRICE OF POWER 83
" Yes, sir," was his reply, as I seated myself on the
edge of the bed, and he took a chair near the dressing-
table and settled himself to talk.
Edward Tack was a man of many adventures. After
a good many years at Scotland Yard, where he rose
to be the chief of the Extradition Department on
account of his knowledge of languages, he. had beea
engaged by the Foreign Office as a member of our
Secret Service abroad, mostly in Germany and Russia.
During the past two years he had, as a bhnd to the
pohce, carried on a small insurance agency business in
Petersburg ; but the information he gathered from time
to tim.e and sent to the Embassy was of the greatest
assistance to us in our diplomatic dealings with Russia
and the Powers.
He never came to the Embassy himself, nor did he
ever hold any direct communication with any of the
staff. He acted as our eyes and ears, exercising the
utmost caution in transmitting to us the knowledge
of men and matters which he so cleverly gained. He
worked with the greatest secrecy, for though he had lived
in Petersburg two whole years, he had never once been
suspected by that unscrupulous spy-department con-
trolled by General Markoff.
" I've been in Brighton several days," my visitor
said. " The hotel porter told me here that you were away,
so I went to the * Old Ship ! ' and waited for you."
" Well — what have you discovered ? " I inquired,
handing him my cigarette-case. " Anything of
interest ? "
" Nothing very much, I regret to say," was his reply.
** I've worked for a whole month, often night and day,
but Markoff 's men are war}' — very wary birds, sir, as
*' Have you discovered the real perpetrator of that
bomb outrage ? "
84 THE PRICE OF POWER
" I believe so. He escaped."
" No doubt he did."
" There have been in all over forty persons arrested,"
my visitor said. " About two dozen have been im-
mured in Schusselburg, in those cells under the waters
of Lake Ladoga. The rest have been sent by ad-
ministrative process to the mines."
" And all of them innocent ? "
" Even.' one of them."
" It's outrageous ! " I cried. " To tliink that such
things can happen ever\' day in a countr\^ whose priests
" Remove a certain dozen or so of Russia's statesmen
and corrupt officipJs, put a stop to the exile system,
and give ever\^ criminal or suspect a fair trial, and the
country would become peaceful to-morrow," declared
the secret agent. " I have already reported to the
Embassy the actual truth concerning the present
" I know. And we have sent it on to Do\Miing Street,
together wdth the names of those who form the camariUa.
The Emperor is, alas I merely their catspaw. They
are the real rulers of Russia — they rule it by a Reign
" Exacth", sir," replied the man Tack. " I've
always contended that. In the present case the outrage
is not a mystery to the Secret Pohce."
" You think they know aU about it- — eh ? " I asked
" WeU, sir. I will put to you certain facts which
I have discovered. About tw^o years ago a certain
Danilo Danilovitch, an intelligent shoemaker in Kazan,
and a member of the revolutionary" group in that city,
turned pohce-spy, and gave eiidence of a cmip vrhich had
been prepared to poison the Emperor at a banquet
given there after the militaiy manc&u^Tes last year.
THE PRICE OF POWER 85
As a result, there were over a hundred arrests, and as
reprisal the chief of police of Kazan was a week later
shot while riding through one of the principal streets.
Next I know of Banilo\'itch is that he was transferred
to Petersburg, where, though in the pay of the police,
he was known to the Party of the People's Will as an
ardent and daring reformer, and foremost in his fiery
condcm.naticn cf the monarch}'. He m.ade many
inflammatory speeches at the secret revolutionary-
meetings in various parts of the city, and v.as hailed
as a strong and intrepid leader. Yet frequently the
police made raids upcn these mxeetirg-places and arrested
all found there. After each attempted outrage they
seemed to be provided with lists of everyone who had
had the shghtest connecticn \vith the affair, and hence
they experienced no difficulty in securing them, and
packing them cff to Siberia. The police were all-
ubiquitous, the Emperor was greatly pleased, and
General Markcff was given the highest decorations,
prcm.oticn and an cppcintmicnt with rich emoluments,
" But cne day, abcut four months ago," Tack went
on, "a remiarkable but unreported tragedy occurred.
D anilovitch, w^hose wife had long ago been arrested and
died on her way to Siberia, fell in love with a pretty
young tailcress named Marie Garine, who was a very
active m.tmber of the revoJuticnary party, her father
and mother having been sent to the mines of Nerchinsk,
though entirely innocent. Hence she naturally hated
the Secret Police and all their detestable wcrks.v More
than cnce she had rem.arked to her lover the extra-
ordinary fact that the police were being secretly fore-
warned of every attempt v\hich he suggested, for
Danikvitch had by this t:m,e beccm.e cne cf the chief
leaders cf the subterranean revoluticn, and instigator
of all sorts of desperate plots against the Emperor and
mem.bers of the Im;periai F&mjjy. One evening, however.
86 THE PRICE OF POWER
she went to his rooms and found him out. Some
old shoes were upon a shelf ready for mending, for he
still, as a subterfuge, practised his old trade. Among
the shoes was a pair of her own. She took them down,
but she mistook another pair for hers, and from^ one
of them there fell to her feet a yellow card — the card
of identity issued to members of the Secret Police ! She
took it up. There was no mistake, for her lover's photo-
graph was pasted upon it. Her lover was a police spy ! "
*' Weil, what happened ? " I asked, much interested
in the facts.
" The girl, in a frenzy of madness and anger, was
about to rush out to betray the man to her fellow-
consphators, when Danilovitch suddenly entered. She
had, at that moment, his \^ellow card in her hand. In
an instant he knew the truth and realized his own peril.
She intended to betray him. It meant her life or his !
Kot a dozen words passed between the pair, for the
man, taking up his shoemaker's knife, plunged it
deliberatety into the girl's heart, snatched the card
from her dying grasp, and strode out, locking the door
behind him. Then he went straight to the private
bureau of General Markoff and told him what he had
done. Needless to relate, the police inquiry was a very
perfunctory one. It was a love tragedy, they said,
and as Danilo Danilovitch was missing, they soon
dropped the inquiry. They did not, of course, wish
to arrest the assassin, for he was far too useful a person
" Then you know the fellow ? "
"I have met him often. At first I had no idea of
his connection with the revolutionists. It is only quite
recently through a woman who is in the pay of the Secret
Police, and whose son has been treated badly, that I
learned the truth. And she also told me one very
curious fact. She was present in the crowd when
THE PRICE OF POWER 87
the bomb was thrown at the Grand Duke Nicholas's
carriage, and she declares that Danilo Danilovitch — who
has not been seen in Petersburg since the tragic death
of Marie Garine — was there also."
"Then he may have thrown the bomb?'' I said,
" Who knows ? "
" But I saw a man with his arm uplifted," I ex-
claimed. " He looked respectable, of middle-age, with
a grey beard and wore dark clothes."
" That does not tally with Danilovitch' s description,"
he replied. " But, of course, the assassin must have
been disguised if he had dared to return to Petersburg."
" But I suppose his fellow-conspirators still entertain
no suspicion that he is a police-spy ? "
" None whatever. The poor girl lost her life through
her untoward discovery. The police themselves knew
the truth, but on action being withdrawn, the fellow was
perfectly free to continue his nefarious profession of
agent-provocateur , for the great risk of which he had
evidently been well paid."
" But does not Hart wig know all this ? " I asked
quickly, much surprised.
" Probably not. General Markoff keeps his own
secrets well. Martwig, being head of the criminal
police, would not be informed."
" But he might find out, just as you have found out,"
" He might. But my success, sir, w^as due to the
merest chance, remember," Tack said. " Hartwig's
work lies in the detection of crime, and not in the
frustration of political plots. Markofl knows what an
astute of!i(;^al he is, and would therefore strive to keep
him apart from his catspaw Danilovitch."
" Then, in your opinion, many of these so-called
plots against the Emperor are actually the work of th\s
S8 THE PRICE OF POWER
Kazan shoemaker, who arranges the plot, calls the
conspirators together and directs the arrangements."
" Yes. His brother is a chemist in Moscow and it
is he who manufactures picric acid, nitro-glycerine
and other explosives for the use of the unfortunate
conspirators. Between them, and advised by Markoff,
they form a plot, the more desperate the better ; and
a dozen or so silly enthusiasts, ignorant of their leaders'
true calling, swear solemnly to carry it out. They are
secretly provided with the means, and their leader has
in some cases actually secured facilities from the very
police themselves for the coup to be made. Then, when
all is quite ready, the astute Danilovitch hands over
to his employer, Markoff, a full list of the names of those
who have been cleverly enticed into the plot. At
night a sudden raid is made. All who are there, or who
are even in the vicinity are arrested, and next morning
His Excellency presents his report to the Emperor,
with Danilovitch' s list ready for the Imperial signature
which consigns those arrested to a living grave on the
Arctic wastes, or in the mines of Eastern Siberia."
" And so progresses holy Russia of to-day — eh.
Tack ? " I remarked with a sigh.
The secret agent of British diplomacy, shrugging
his shoulders and with a grin, said :
" The scoundrels are terrorizing the Emperor and
the whole Imperial family. The killing of the Grand
Duke Nicholas was evidence of that, and you, too, sir,
had a very narrow escape."
" Do you suspect that, if the story of the woman
who recognized Danilovitch be true, it was actually
he himself who threw the bomb ? "
" At present I can offer no opinion," he answered.
*' The woman might, of course, have been mistaken,
and. again, I doubt whether Danilovitch would dare
to show himself so quickly in Petersburg. To do so
THE PRICE OF POWER 89
would be to defy the police in the eyes of his fellow-
conspirators, and that might have aroused their
suspicion. But, sir," Tack added, " I feel certain of
two facts — absolutely certain."
" And what are they ? " I inquired eagerly, for his
information was always reliable.
" Well, the first is that the outrage was committed
with the full connivance and knowledge of the police,
and secondly, that it was not the Grand Duke whom
they sought to kill, but his daughter, the Grand Duchess
Natalia, and you yourself ! "
" Why do you think that ? " I asked.
" Because it was known that the 3'oung lady held
letters given her by Madame de Rosen, and intended
to hand them over to the Emperor. There was but one
way to prevent her," he went on very slowly, " to kill
her ! And," he added, " be very careful yourself in the
near future, Mr. Trewinnard. Another attempt of an
entirely different nature m^ay be made."
" You mean that Her Highness is still in grave danger
— even here — eh ? " I exclaimed, looking straight at
the clean-shaven man seated before me.
" I mean, sir, that Her Highness may be aware of
the contents of those letters handed to her by the lady
who is now exiled. K so, then she is a source of constant
danger to General Markoff's interests. And you are
fully well av/are of the manner in which His Excellency
usually treats his enemies. Only by a miracle was your
life saved a few weeks ago. Therefore," he added, " I
beg of you, sir, to beware. There may be pitfalls and
dangers — even here, in Brighton ! " ^
" Do you only suspect scmething, Tack," I demanded
very seriously, " or do ycu actually know ? " , l^,,,
He paused for a few seconds, then, his deep-set^eyes
fixed upon mine, he replied.
" I do not suspect, sir, I know."
90 THE PRICE OF POWER
HIS EXCELLENXY GENERAL MARKOFF
What Tack had told me naturally increased my appre-
hension. I informed the two agents of Russian police
who in turn guarded the house in Brunswick Square.
A whole month went by, bright, delightful autumn
days beside the sea, when I often strolled with my
charming little companion across the Lawns at Hove,
or sat upon the pier at Brighton listening to the band.
Sometimes I would dine with her and Miss West,
or at others they would take tea with me in that over-
heated winter garden of the " Metropole " — where
half of the Hebrew portion of the City of London
assembles on Sunda\^ afternoons — or they would dine
with me in the big restaurant. So frequently was she
in and out of the hotel that " Miss Gottorp " soon be-
came known to all the servants, and by sight to most
of the visitors on account of the neatness of her mourn-
ing and the attractiveness of her pale beauty.
Tack had returned to Petersburg to resume his agency
business, and Hartwig's whereabouts was unknown.
The last-named had been in Brighton three weeks
before, but as he had nothing to report he had dis-
appeared as suddenly as he had come. He was ubiqui-
tous — a man of a hundred disguises, and as many subter-
fuges. He never seemed to sleep, and his journeys
backwards and forwards across the face of Europe were
amazingly swift and ever-constant.
I was seated at tea with Her Highness and Miss
West in the winter garden — that place of palms and
bird-cages at the back of the " Metropole " — when a
waiter handed me a telegram which I found was from
THE PRICE OF POWER 91
the secretary of the Russian Embassy, at Chesham
House, in London, asking me to call there at the earliest
What, I wondered, had occurred ?
I said nothing to Natalia, but, recollecting that
there was an express just after six o'clock which would
land me at Victoria at half-past seven, I cut short her
visit and duly arrived in London, unaware of the
reason why I was so suddenly summoned.
I crossed the big, walled-in courtyard of the Embassy,
and entering the great sombre hall, where an agent of
Secret Police was idling as usual, the flunkey in green
livery showed me along to the secretary's room, a big,
gloomy, smoke-blackened apartment on the ground
floor. The huge house Vv'as dark, sombre and ponderous,
a house of grim, mysterious shadows, where officials
and servants flitted up and down the great, v/ide stair-
case which led to His Excellency's room.
" His Excellency left for Paris to day," the footman
informed me, opening the door of the secretary's room,
and telhng me that he would send word at once of my
It was the usual cold and austere embassy room
— differing but little from my own den in Petersburg.
Count Kourloff, the secretary, was an old friend of
mine. He had been secretary in Rome when I had been
stationed there, and I had also known him in Vienna —
a clever and intelligent diplomat, but a bureaucrat like
The evening was a warm, oppressive one, and the
windows being open, admitted the lively strains of a
street piano, played somewhere in the vicinity.
Suddenly the door opened, and instead of the Count,
whom I had expected, a stout, broad-shouldered,
elderly man in black frock-coat and grey trousers
entered, and saluted me gaily in French with the words :
92 THE PRICE OF POWER
" Ah, my dear Trewinnard ! How are you, my
friend — eh ? How are you ? And how is Her Imperial
Highness — eh ? "
I started as I recognized him.
It was none other than Serge Markoff.
" I am very well, General," I repUed coldly. " I am
awaiting Count Kourloff."
" He's out. It was I who telegraphed to you. I
want to have a chat with you now that you have entered
the service of Russia, my dear friend. Pray be seated."
" Pardon me," I replied, annoyed, " I have not
entered the service of Russia, only the private service
of her Sovereign, the Emperor."
" The same thing ! The same thing ! " he declared
fussily, stroking his long, grey moustache, and fixing
his cunning steel blue eyes upon mine.
"I think not," I said. "But we need not discuss
" Bien ! I suppose. Her Highness is perfectly com-
fortable and happy in her incognito at Brighton — eh ?
The Emperor was speaking 6f her to me only the other
" His Majesty receives my report each week," I said
" I know," replied, the brutal remorseless man who
was responsible for the great injustice and suffering of
thousands of innocent ones throughout the Russian
Empire, '^l know. But I have asked you to London
because I wish to speak to you in strictest confidence.
I am here, M'sieur Trewinnard, because of a certain
discovery we have recently made — the discovery of a
ver}^ desperate and ingenious plot I "
" Another plot I " I echoed ; " here, in London ! "
" It is formed in London, but the coup is to be made
at Brighton," he replied slowly and seriously, " a plot
against Her Imperial Highness ! "
THE PRICE OF POWER 93
I looked the man straight in the face, and then burst
" You certainly do not appear to have any regard
for the personal safety of your charge," he exclaimed
angrily. " I have warned you. Therefore, take every
I paused for a few seconds, then I said :
" Forgive me for laughing, General Markoff. But
it is really too humorous — all this transparency."
" What transparency ? "
"The transparency of your attempt to terrify me,"
I said. " I know that the attempt rr.ade against the
young lady and myself failed — and that His Imperial
Highness the Grand Duke was unfortunately killed.
But I do not think there will be any second attempt."
" You don't think so ! " he cried quickly. " Why
don't you think so ? "
" For the simple reason that Danilo Danilovitch —
the man who is a police-spy and at the same time re-
sponsible for plots — is just now a little too well
The man's grey face dropped when I uttered the name
of his catspaw. My statement, I sav/, held him con-
founded and confused.
" I — I do not understand you," he managed, to
exclaim. " What do you mean ? "
" Well, you surely know Danilovitch ? " I said, " He
is your most trusted and useful iigent-provocatettr . He
is at this moment in England. I can take you now to
v/here he is in hiding, if you wish," I added, with a
smile of triumph.
" Danilovitch," he repeated, as though trying to recall
" Yes," I said defiantly, standing with my hands
in my trousers pockets and leaning against the table
placed in the centre of the room. " Danilovitch — the
94 THE PRICE OF POWER
shoemaker of Kazan and murderer of Marie Garine, the
poor Httle tailoress in Petersburg."
His face dropped. He saw that I was aware of
the man's identity.
"He is now staying with a compatriot in Blurton
Road, Lower Clapton," I went on.
" I don't see why this person should interest me," he
" But he is a conspirator, General Markoff ; and I
am giving you some valuable information," I said,
" You are not a police officer. What can 3^ou know ? "
" I know several facts which, when placed before the
Revolutionary Committee — as they probably are by this
time — will make matters exceedingly unpleasant for
Danilo Danilovitch, and also for certain of those who have
been employing him," was my quiet response.
" If this man is a dangerous revolutionist, as you
allege, he cannot be arrested while in England," remarked
the General, his thick grey eyebrows contracting slightty,
a sign of apprehension. "This country of yours gives
asylum to all the most desperate characters, and half
the revolutionary plots in Europe are arranged in
" I do not dispute that," I said. " But I was discussing
the highly interesting career of this Danilo Danilo\itch.
If there is any attempt upon Her Imperial Highness
the Grand Duchess Natalia, as you fear, it will be by
that individual, General. Therefore I would advise
your department to keep close observation upon him.
He is lodging at No. 30B, Blurton Road. And," I
added, " if you should require any further particulars
concerning him, I daresay I shall be in a position to
" Why do you suspect him ? " .
" Because of information which has reached me —
THE PRICE OF POWER 95
information which shows that it was his hand which
launched the fatal bomb which killed the Grand Duke
Nicholas. His Imperial Highness was actually killed
by an agent of Secret Police ! When that fact reaches
the Emperor's ears there wiW, I expect, be searching
" Have you actual proof of this ? "he asked in a thick,
hoarse voice, his cheeks paler than before.
" Yes. Or at least my informant has. The traitor
was recognized among the crowd ; he was seen to
throw the bomb."
General Markoff remained silent. He saw himself
checkmated. His secret was out. He had intended
to raise a false scare of a probable attempt at Brighton
in order to terrify me, but, to his amazement, I had
shown myself conversant with his methods and aware
of the truth concerning the mysterious outrage in which
the Grand Duke Nicholas had lost his life.
From his demeanour and the keen cunning look in
his steely eyes I gathered that he was all eagerness to
know the exact extent of my knowledge concerning
Therefore, after some further conversation, I said
*' I expect that, ere this, the Central Committee of
the People's Will has learned the truth regarding their
betrayer — this man to whose initiative more than half
of the recent plots have been due — and how he was in
the habit of furnishing your department with the lists
of suspects and those chosen to carry out the outrage.
But, of course. General," I added, with a bitter smile,
" you would probably not know of this manufacture
of plots by one in the pay of the PoUce Depart-
" Of course not," the unscrupulous official assured
me. " I surely cannot be held responsible for the
96 THE PRICE OF POW^R
action of underlings. I only act upon reports presented
I smiled again.
" And yet you warn me of an outrage which is to be
attempted with your connivance by this fellow Danilo-
vitch — the verv man who killed the Grand Duke —
eh ? "
" With my connivance ! " he cried fiercel}'. " Wliat
do you insinuate ? "
" I mean this, General Markcf?," I said boldly ;
" that the yellow card of identity found in Danilo\'itch's
rocms by the girl to whcm he was engaged bore your
signature. That card is, I believe, already in the hands
of the Revolutionary Committee ! "
" I have ail their names. I shall telegraph to-night
ordering their immediate arrest," he cried, white with
" But that will net save your agent-provocateur —
the assassin of poor Marie Garine — from his fate. The
arm of the revolutionist is a very long one, remember."
" But the arm of the Chief of Secret Police is longer
— and stronger," he declared in a low, hard tone.
" The Em.peror, when he learns the truth, wdll dis-
pense full justice," I said very quietl}'. " His eyes will,
ere long, be opened to the base frauds practised upon
him, and the many false plots which have cost hundreds
of innocent persons their hves or their liberty."
" You speak as though you were censor of the police/'
he exclaimed with a quick, angiy look.
" I speak. General Markoff, as the friend of Russia
and of her Sovereign the Em^peror," I replied. " You
wain me of a plot to assassinate the Grand Duchess
Natalia. Well, I tell 3^ou frankly and openly I don't
believe it. But if it be true, then I, in return, warn
you that if any Edtem^pt be made by any of your das-
tardly hirehngs, I \\\\\ mA'self go to the Emperor and
THE PRICE OF POWER 97
place before him proofs of the interesting career of
Danilo Danilovitch. Your Excellency may be all-
powerful as Chief of Secret Police," I added ; " but as
surely as the sun wdll rise to-morrow, justice will one
day be done in Russia ! "
And then I turned upon m}^ heel and passed out of
the room, leaving him biting his nether lip in silence
at my open defiance.
WATCHERS IN THE NIGHT
After Her Highness and Miss Wfest had dined with me
at the '* Metropole " at Brighton on the following
evening, the trusted old companion complained of head-
ache and drove home, leaving us alone together.
Therefore we strolled forth into the moonlit night
and, crossing the road, walked out along the pier.
There were many persons in the hall of the hotel, but
though a good many heads were turned to see " Miss
Gottorp " pass in her pretty decollete gown of black,
trimmed with narrow silver, over which was a black
satin evening cloak, probably not one noticed the
under-sized, insignificant, but rather well-dressed man
who rose from one of the easy chairs where he had
been smoking to follow us out.
Who, indeed, of that crowd would have guessed that
the pretty girl b}^ whose side I walked was an Imperial
Princess, or that the man who went out so aimlessly
was Gleg Lobko, the trusty agent of the Russian
Criminal Police charged b}* the Emperor with her
personal protection ?
With the man following at a respectable distance,
we strolled side b}' side upon the pier, looking back
upon the fair}'-like scene, the long lines of light along
98 THE PRICE OF POWER
King's Road, and the calm sea shimmering beneath
the clear moon. There were many people enjoying
the cool, refreshing breezes, as there always are upon an
A comedy was in progress in the theatre at the pier-
head, and it being the entr'acte, many were promenading
— mostly \dsitors taking their late vacation by the sea.
My charming little companion had been bright and
cheerful all the evening, but had more than once, by
clever questions, endeavoured to learn what had taken
me to the Embassy on the previous night. I, however,
did not deem it exactly advisable to alarm her unduly,
either by telling her of my defiance of General Markoff,
of my discover}^ of Danilo Danilovitch, or of the
attempt to terrify me by the declaration that another
plot was in progress.
Truth to tell. Tack, before his return to Petersburg,
had run Danilovitch to earth in Lower Clapton, and
two private detectives, engaged by me, were keeping
the closest surveillance upon him.
Twice had we circled the theatre at the pier-head,
and had twice strolled amid the seated audience around
the bandstand where military music was being pla3^ed
in the moonlight, when we passed two young men in
Homburg hats, wearing overcoats over their evening
clothes. One of them, a tall, slim, dark-haired, good-
looking, athletic young fellow, of perhaps twenty-two,
raised his hat and smiled at my companion.
She nodded him a merry acknowledgment. Then,
as we passed on, I exclaimed quickly :
" Hullo a ! Is that some new friend — eh ? "
" Oh, it's really all right. Uncle Colin," she assured
me. " I've done nothing dreadful, now. You needn't
start lecturing me, you know, or be horrified at all."
" I'm not lecturing," I laughed. "I'm only con-
sumed by curiosity. That's aU."
THE PRICE OF POWER 99
*' Ah ! You're like all men," she declared. "And
suppose I refuse to satisfy your curiosity — eh ? "
" You won't do that, I think," was my reply, as we
halted upon one of the long benches which ran on either
side of the pier. " Remember, I am responsible to the
Emperor for you, and I'm entitled to know who your
" He's an awfully nice boy," \vas all she replied.
" He looks so. But who is he ? "
" Somebody — well, somebody I knew at Eastbourne."
" And you've met him here ? How long ago ? "
" Oh ! nearly a month."
" And so it is he whom you've met several times
of late — eh ? " I said. " Let's see — according to the
report furnished to me, you were out for half an hour
on the sea-front on Tuesday night ; five minutes on
Wednesday night ; not at all on Thursday night, and
one whole hour on Friday night — eh ? And with a
young man whose name is unknown."
" Oh; I'll tell you his name. He's Dick Drur}^"
" And who, pray, is this Mr. Richard Drury ? "
"A friend of mine, I tell you. The man with him
is his friend-r— Lance Ingram, a doctor."
" And what is this Mr. Drury's profession ? "
" He does nothing, I suppose," she laughed. " I
can't weU imagine Dick doing much."
" Except flirting — eh ? " I said with a smile.
" That's a matter of opinion," she replied, as we
again rose and circled the bandstand, for I was anxious
to get another look at the pair.
On the evenings I had referred to, it appeared that
Her Highness, after dinner, had twisted a shawl over
her head, and ran down" to the sea-front — a distance
of a hundred yards or so — to get a breath of air, as
she had explained to Miss West. But on each occa-
sion the watchful poUce-agent had seen her meet by
100 THE PRICE OF POWER
appointment tliis same 3'oung man. Therefore some
flirtation was certainly in progress — and flirtation had
been most distinctly forbidden.
r>Iy efforts were rewarded, for a few minutes later
the two young men re-passed us, and this time young
Drur\^ did not raise his hat. He only smiled at her in
" XVhere are they sta3'ing ? " I asked.
" Oh you are so horribly inquisitive, Uncle Colin,"
she said. " Well, if you really must know, they're
stajdng at the ' Royal York.' "
" How came you to know this young fellow at East-
bourne ? " I asked. " I thought you were kept in
strictest seclusion from the outside world. At least,
you've always led me to beheve that," I said.
She laughed heartily.
" Well, dear old uncle, surely you don't think that
any school could exactly keep a girl a prisoner. We
used to get out sometimes alone for an hour of an
evening — by judicious briber}^ I've had many a
pleasant hour's walk up the road towards Beachy
Head. And, moreover, I wasn't- alone, either. Dick
was usually with me."
" Really, this is too dreadful ! " I exclaimed in pious
horror. " Suppose anyone had kno\\Ti who you really
were ! "
" WeU, I suppose even if they had the heavens
wouldn't have fallen," she laughed.
" Ah ! " I said, " you are reaU}^ incorrigible. Here
you are flirting with an unsuspected lover."
" And why shouldn't I ? " she asked in protest.
" Dick is better than some chance acquaintance."
" If you are only amusing yourself," I said. " But
if you love him, then it would be a serious matter."
" Oh, horribly serious, I know," she said impatiently.
" If I were a typist, or a shopgirl, or a waitress, or any
THE PRICE OF POWER 101
girl who worked for her Uving, I should be doing quite
the correct thing ; but for me — bom of the great.
Imperial Family — to merely look at a boy is quite
I was silent for a few moments. The Uttle madcap
whom the Emperor had placed in my charge, because
her presence at Court was a menace to the Imperial
family, was surely unconventional and utterly
" I fear Your Highness does not fully appreciate the
heavy responsibilities of Imperial birth," I said in a
tone of dissatisfaction.
" Oh, bother ! My birth be hanged ! " she exclaimed,
with more force than politeness. " In these days it
really counts for nothing. I was reading it all in_ a
Gerrnan book last week. Ever}' class seems to have its
owTL social laws, and what is forbidden to me is quite
good form with my dressmaker. Isn't it absurdly
funny ? "
" You must study your position."
"Why should I,"^if I strictly preserve my incognito?
That I do this, even you, Uncle Colin, will admit ! "
" Are you quite certain that this Mr. Drury is unaware
who 3'Ou reaUy are ? " I asked.
" Quite. He believes me to be Miss Natalia Gottorp,
my father German, my mother English, and I was bom
in Germany. That is the stor}' — does it suit ? "
" I trust you will tal^e great care not to reveal your
tme identity," I said.
" I have promised you, haven't I ? "
" You promised me that you would not flirt, and yet
here you are, having clandestine meetings with this
young man every evening I "
"Oh, that's ver>' different. I can't help it if I meet
an old friend accidentally, can I ? " she protested with
a pretty pout.
102 THE PRICE OF POWER
At that moment we were strolling along the western
side of the pier-head, where it was comparatively ill-
lit, on one side being the theatre, w^hile on the other
the sea. The photographer's and other shops were
closed at that late hour, and the light being dim at
that spot, several flirting couples were passing up and
down arm in arm.
Suddenly, as we turned the comer behind the theatre,
we came face to face with a dark-featured, middle-aged
man, with deeply-furrowed brow, narrowly set e3^es and
small black moustache. He wore a dark suit and a
hard felt hat, and had something of the appearance of
a miiddle-class paterfamilias out for his annual vacation.
He glanced quickly in our direction, and, I thought,
started, as though recognizing one or other of us.
' Then next mom.ent he was lost in the darkness.
" Do you know^ that man ? " asked my companion
" Xo.' Why ? "
'' I don't know," she answered. " I fancy I've seen
him somewhere or other before. He looked like a
That was just my own thought at that moment,
and I wondered if Gleg; who was lurking near, had
" Yes," I said. " But I don't recollect ever ha\-ing
seen him before. I wonder who he "is? Let's turn
We did so, but though we hastened our steps, we did
not find him. He had, it seemed, already left the pier.
Apparently he believed that he had been recognized.
Once again we repassed Drury and his friend just as
the theatre disgorged its crowd of homev/ard-bound
We were walking in the same direction, Oleg followr
ing at a respectable distance, and I was enabled to
THE PRICE OF POWER 103
obtain a good look at him, for, as though in wonder as
to whom I could be, he turned several times to eye me,
with some httle indignation, I thought.
I judged him to be about twenty-five, over six feet
in height, athletic and svir>', with handsome, clear-cut,
clean-shaven features and a pair of sharp, dark, alert
eyes, which told of an active outdoor life. His face was
a refined one, his gait easy and swinging, and both in
dress and manner he betrayed the gentleman.
Truth to tell, though I did not admit it to Natalia,
I became very, favourably impressed by him. By his
exterior he seemed to be a well-set-up, sportsmardike
young fellow, who might, perhaps, belong to one of the
Sussex county famihes.
His friend the doctor was of quite a different t\^e,
a short, fair-haired man in gold-rimmed spectacles,
whose face was somewhat unattractive, though it bore
an expression of studiousness and professional know-
ledge. He certainly had the appearance of a doctor.
But before I went farther I resolved to make search-
ing inquiry unto the antecedents of this mysterious
The walk in the moonlight along the broad promenade
tovv-ards Hove was delightful. I begged Her Highness
to drive, but she preferred to walk ; the autumn night
was so perfect, she said.
As we strolled along, she suddenly exclaimed :
" I can't help recalling that man we saw on the pier.
I remember now I I met him about a week ago, when
I was shopping in Western Road, and he followed me
for quite a distance. He was then much better dressed."
" You believe, then, he is a Russian ? " I asked
" I feel certain he is."
" But you were not alone — Gleg was out with you,
I suppose ? "
104 THE PRICE OF POWER
" Oh, yes," she laughed. " He never leaves me. I
only wish he would sometimes. I hate to be spied upon
like this. Either Dmitri or Oleg is always with me,"
" It is highly necessar}'," I declared. " Recollect the
fate of your poor father."
" But why should the revolutionists wish to harm
me — a girl ? " she asked. " My own idea is that they're
not half as black as they're painted."
I did not reveal to her the serious facts which I had
" Did you make any mention to Oleg of the man
following you ? "
" No, it never occurred to me. But there, I suppose,
he only followed me, just as other men seem sometimes
to follow me — to look into my face."
"You are used to admiration," I said, "and there-
fore take no notice of it. Pretty women so soon become
" Oh ! So you denounce me as blase — eh. Uncle
Colin ? " she cried, just as we arrived before the door
in Brunswick Square. " That is the latest ! I really
don't think it fair to criticize me so constantly," and
Then she gave me her little gloved hand, and I bent
over it as I wished her good-night.
I wished to question Oleg regarding the man we had
seen, but I could not do so before her.
I turned back along the promenade, and was walking
leisurely towards the " Metropole," when suddenly
from out of the shadow of one of the glass-partitioned
shelters the dark figure of a man emerged, and I heard
my name pronounced.
It was the ubiquitous Hartv>'ig, wearing his gold
pince-nez. As was his habit, he sprang from nowhere.
I had clapped my hand instinctively upon my revolver,
but v/ithdrew it instantly.
THE PRICE OF POWER 105
" Good evening, Islr. Trewinnard," he said. " I've
met you here as I don't want to be seen at the ' Metro-
pole ' to-night. I have travelled straight through from
Petersburg here. I landed at Dover this afternoon,
went up to Victoria, and down here. I arrived at eight
o'clock, but learning that Her Highness was dining
with you, I waited until 3'ou left her. It is perhaps as
well that I am here," he added.
" Why ? " I asked.
" Because I've been on the pier with you to-night,"
vras the reply of the chief of the detective department
of Russia, " and I have seen how closety 3'ou have been
watched. by a person whom even Oleg Lobko, usually
so w^ell informed, does not suspect — a person who is
extremely dangerous. I do not wish to alarm you,
Mr. Trewinnard," he added in a low voice, " but I
heard in Petersburg that something is intended here in
Brighton, and the Emperor sent me post-haste to
" Who is this person who has been watching us ?
I asked eagerly. " I noticed him."
" Oleg doesn't know him, but I do. I have had
certain suspicions, and only five days ago I made a
discovery in Petersburg — an amazing discovery — which
confirmed my apprehensions. The man who has been
watching you with distinctly evil intent is a most
notorious and evasive character named Danilo Danilo-
" Danilovitch ! " I cried. " I know him, but I did
not recognize him to-night. His appearance has so
" Yes, it has. But I have been watching him all the
evening. He returned by the midnight train to
" I can tell you where he is in hiding," I said.
" You can ! " he cried. " Excellent ! Then we will
106 THE PRICE OF POWER
both go and pay him a surprise call to-morrow. There
is danger — a grave and imminent danger — for both
Her Highness and yourself ; therefore it must be removed.
There is peril in the present situation — a distinct peril
which I had never suspected. A disaster may happen
at any moment if we are not wary and watchful. And
there's another important point, Mr. Trewinnard/'
added the great detective ; "do you happen to know a
tall, thin, sharp-featured young man called Richard
Drury ? "
Just as the dusk had deepened into grey on the follow-
ing evening I alighted from a tram in the Low^er Clapton
Road, and, accompanied by Hartwig, we turned up a
long thoroughfare of uniform houses, called Powerscroft
Road, until we reached Blurton Road, where, nearly
opposite the Mission House, we found the house of
which we were in search.
Hartwig had altered his appearance wonderfully,
and looked more like a Devonshire farmer up in London
on holiday than the shrewd, astute head of the Surete
of the Russian Empire. As for myself, I had assumed
a very old suit and wore a shabby hat.
The drab, dismal house, v/hich we passed casually in
order to inspect, was dingy and forbidding, with curtains
that were faded wdth smoke and dirt, hoUand blinds
once yellow, but the ends of which were now dark and
stained, and windows which had not been cleaned for
years, while the front door was faded and blistered
and some of the tops of the iron railings in front had been
broken off. The steps leading to the front door had
not been hearthstoned as were those of its neighbour.
THE PRICE OF POWER 107
while in the area were bits of wastepaper, straw, and the
flotsam and jetsam of the noisy, overcrowded street.
Unkempt children were romping or playing hop-
scotch on the pavement, while some were skipping and
others playing football in the centre of the road — all
pupils of the great County Council Schools in the
At both the basement window and that of the room
above — the front parlour— were short blinds of dirty
muslin, so that to see within while passing was impossible.
In that particular it differed in no way from some of its
neighbours ; fbr in those parts front parlours are often
turned into bedrooms, and a separate family occupies
every floor. Only one fact was apparent — that it was
the dirtiest and most neglected house in the whole of
that working-class road, bordering upon the Hackney
To me that district was as unfamiliar as were the
wilds of the Sahara. Indeed, to the average Londoner
Lower Clapton is a mere legendary district, the existence
of which is only recorded by the name written upon
tramcars and omnibuses.
Together we strolled to the bottom of Blurton Road,
to where Glyn Road crosses it at right angles, and then
we stopped to discuss our plans.
" I shall ascend the steps, knock, and ask for
Danilovitch," the great detective said. " The proba-
bility is that the door will be unceremoniously slammed
in my face. But you will be behind me. I shall place
my foot in the door to prevent premature closijig, and
at first sign of resistance you, being behind me, will help
me to force the door, and so enter. . At word from me
don't hesitate — use all your might. I intend to give
whoever lives there a sudden and sharp surprise."
" But if they are refugees, they are desperate. What
108 THE PRICE OF POWER
*' I expect they are," he laughed. " This is no doubt
the hornets' nest. Therefore it behoves us to be wary,
and have our wits well about us. You're not afraid,
Mr. Trewinnard ? "
" Not at all," I said. " Where you dare go, there I
" Good. Let's make the attempt then," he said,
and together we strolled leisurely back until we came
to the flight of unclean front steps, whereupon both of
us turned and, ascending, Hartwig gave a sharp post-
man's knock at the door.
An old, grey -whiskered, ill-dressed man, palpably
a Polish Jew, opened the door, whereupon Hartwig asked
in Russian :
" Is our leader Danilo Danilovitch here ? "
The man looked from him to me inquiringly.
*' Tell him that Ivan Arapoff , from Petersburg, wishes
to speak with him."
" I do not know, Gospodin, whether he is at home,"
replied the man with politeness. " But I will see, if
you will wait," and he attempted to close the door in
Hartwig, however, was prepared for such manoeuvre,
for he had placed his foot in the door, so that it could
not be closed. The Polish Jew was instantly on the
alert and shouted some sharp word of warning, evidently
a preconcerted signal, to those within, whereat Hartwig
and myself made a sudden combined effort and next
second were standing within the narrow e\dl-smelling
I saw the dark figures of several men and women
against the stairs, and heard whispered words of alarm
in Russian. But Hartvv'ig lost no time, for he shouted
" I wish to see Danilo Danilovitch. Let him come for-
ward. If he does not do so, then it is at his own peril."
THE PRICE OF POWER 109
" If you are police officers you cannot touch us here
in England ! " shouted a young woman with dark,
tousled hair, a revolutionist of the female-student
" We are here from Petersburg as friends, but you
apparently treat us as enemies," said Hartwig.
"If you are traitors you will, neither of you, leave
this house alive," cried a thick-set man, advancing
towards me threateningly. " So you shall see Danilo-
vitch — and he shall decide,"
I heard somebody bolting the front door heavily to
prevent our escape, while a voice from somewhere
above, in the gloom of the stairs, shouted :
" Comrades, they are police-spies ! "
A young, black-haired Jew^ess of a type seen every-
where in Poland, thin-featured and handsome, with a
grey shawl over her shoulders, emerged from a door and
peered into my face. There seemed fully fifteen persons
m that dingy house, all instantly alarmed at our arrival.
Here was, no doubt, the London centre of revolutionary'^
activity directed against the Russian Imperial family,
and Danilo Danilovitch was in hiding there. It was
fortunate, indeed, that the ever-vigilant Tack had suc-
ceeded in running him to earth.
I had told Hartwig of the aJlegation which Tack had
made against Danilovitch, that, though in the service
of the Secret Police, he had arranged certain attempts
against members of the Imperial family, and how he
had deliberately killed his sweetheart, Marie Garine.
But Hartwig, being chief of the Syrete, had no connec-
tion with the political department, and was, therefore,
unaware of any agent of Secret Police known as Danilo-
" I remember quite well the case of Marie Garine,"
he added. " I thoroughly investigated it and found
that she had, no doubt, been killed bv her lover. But
110 THE PRICE OF POWER
I put it down to jealousy, and as the culprit had left
Russia I closed the inquiry."
" Then you could arrest him, even now," I said.
" Not without considerable delay. Besides, in Peters-
burg they are against applying for extradition in Eng-i
land. The newspapers alwa3^s hint at the horrors of
Siberia in store for the person arrested. And," he added,
" I agree that it is quite useless to unnecessarily wound
the susceptibilities of my owti countrymen, the English."
It was those words he had spoken as we had come
along Blurton Road.
Our position at that moment was not a very pleasant
one, surrounded as we were by a crowd of desperate
refugees. If any one of them recognized Ivan Hartwig,
then I knew full well that we should never leave the
house alive. Men who were conspiring to kill His
Majesty the Emperor would not hesitate to kill a police
officer and an intruder in order to preserve their secret.
" Where is my good friend Danilovitch ? " demanded
Hartwig, in Russian. " Why does he not come for-
ward ? "
" He has not been well, and is in bed," somebody
replied. " He is coming in a moment. He lives on the
" Well, I'm in a hurry, comrades," exclaimed the
great detective with a show of impatience. " Do not
keep me waiting. I am bearer of a message to you
all — an important message from our great and beloved
Chief, the saviour of Russia, whose real identity is a
secret to all, but whom we know as ' The One ' ! "
" The One ! " echoed two of the men in Russian.
" A message from him ! What is it ? Tell us," they
" No. The message from our Chief is to our com-
rade Danilovitch. He will afterwards inform you,"
was Hartwig's response.
THfc PRICE OF POWER 111
" Who is it there who warts me ? " cried an impatient
voice in Russian over the banisters.
" I have a message for Danilo Danilovitch," my friend
" Then come upstairs," he replied. " Come — both
And we followed a dark figure up to a back room on
the second floor — a shabby bed and sitting-room com-
He struck a match, lit the gas and pulled down the
Dlind. Then as he faced us, a middle-aged man with
(deeply-furrowed countenance and hair tinged with grey,
I at once recognized him — though he no longer wore
tae small black moustache — as the man I had met on
Brighton Pier on the previous night.
" Well," he asked roughly in Russian, " what do you
want with me ? "
I was gratified that he had" not recognized Ivan
jiartwig. For a moment he looked inquiringly at me,
end no doubt recognized me as the Grand Duchess's
companion of the previous night.
His hair was unkempt, his neck was thick, and his
unshaven face was broad and coarse. He had the
heavy features of a Russian of the lower class, yet his
prominent, cunning eyes and high, deeply-furrowed
forehead betokened great intelligence. Though of the
working-class, yet in his eyes there burned a bright
rnagnetic fire, and one could well imagine how by his
inflammatory speeches he led that crowd of ignorant
aliens into a belief that by killing His Imperial Majesty
they could free Russia of the autocratic yoke. Those
men and women, specimens of whom were living in that
house at Clapton, never sought to aim at the root of
the evil which had gripped the Empire, that brutal
camarilla who ruled Russia, but in the madness of their
blood-lust and ignorance that they were being betrayed
112 THE PRICE OF POWER
by their leader, and their lives made catspaws by the
camarilla itself, they plotted and conspired, and were
proud to believe themselves martyrs to what they ,
foolishly termed The Cause 1
The face of the traitor before us was full of craft and
cunning, the countenance of a shrewd and clever man
who, it struck me, was haunted hourly by the dread of
betrayal and an ignominious end. Even though he
might have been a shoemaker, yet from his perfect self-
control, and the manner in which he greeted us, I saw
that he was no ordinary man. Indeed, few men coulc
have done — would have dared to do — what he had done,
if all Tack had related were true. His personal appear-
ance, his unkempt hair, his limp collar and loosely-
tied cravat of black and greasy silk, and his rough suit ■
of shabby dark tweed, his whole ensemble, indeed, was
that of the political agitator, the revolutionary fire-
" I am here, Danilo Danilovitch," Hartwig said at
last very seriously, looking straight at him, " in orde?
to speak to you quite frankl}', to put to you several
The man started, and I saw apprehension by the
shght movement in the comers of his mouth.
" For what reason ? " he snapped quickly. " £
thought you were here vAi\i a message from our Chief
in Russia ? "
" I am here with a message, it is true," said the re-
nowned chief of the Russian Surete. " You had, I
think, better lock that door, and also make quite certain
that nobody in this house ov^erhears what I am about
to say," he added very slowly and meaningly.
" Why ? " inquired the other with some show of
" If you do not want these comrades of yours to
know all your private business, it will be best to lock
THE PRICE OF POWER 113
that door and take care that nobody is listening out-
side. If they are — well, it will be you, Danilo Daniio-
vitch, who will suffer, not myself," said Hartwig very
coolly, his eyes fixed upon the agent-provocateur. " I
urge you to take precautions of secrecy," he added.
" I urge you — for 3'our own sake ! "
" For my own sake ! " cried the other. " What do
you mean ? "
Hartwig paused for a few seconds, and then, in a
lower voice, said :
*' I mean this, Danild Danilovitch. If a single word
of what I am about to say is overheard by anyone in
this house you will not go forth again alive. We have
been threatened by your comrades down below. But
upon you yourself will fall the punishment which is
meted out by your comrades to all traitors — death ! "
The man's face changed in an instant. He stood
open-mouthed, staring aghast at Hartwig, haggard-
eyed and pale to the lips.
SUCH IS THE LAW
*' Now," Hartwig said, assuming a firm, determined
attitude, " I hope you entire!}- understand me. I
am well aware of the despicable double gam.e you are
playing, therefore if you refuse me the information I
seek I shall go downstairs and tell them how 3'ou are
employed by His Excellency General Markoff."
The traitor's face was ashen gre}-. He was, I could
see, in wonder at the identity of his visitor. Of course
he knew me, but apparently my companion was quite
unknown to him. It was always one of Hartwig's
greatest precautions to remain unknown to any except
perhaps a dozen or so of the detective poUce immediately
114 THE PRICE OF POWER
under his direction. From the Secret or Political
Police he was always careful to hide his identity, know-
ing well that by so doing he would gain a free hand in
his operations in the detection of serious crime. At
his own house, a neat, modest little bachelor abode
just outside Petersburg, in the Kuiikovo quarter, he
was known as Herr Otto Schenk, a German teacher of
languages, who, possessing a small income, devoted his
leisure to his garden and his poultry. None, not even
the agents of Secret Police in the Kuiikovo district, who
reported upon him regularly each month, even sus-
pected that he was the renowned head of the Surete.
Standing there presenting such a bucolic appearance,
so typically English, and yet speaking Russian per-
fectly, he caused Danilovitch much curiosity and
Suddenly he asked of the spy :
" You were at Brighton last night ? With what
motive ? Tell me."
The man hesitated a moment and rephed :
'* I went there to visit a friend — a compatriot."
" Yes. Quite true," exclaimed the great police
official, leaning against the end of the narrow iron
bedstead. " You went to Brighton with an evil pur-
pose. Shall I tell you why ? Because you were sent
there by your emplo\^er General Markoff — sent there
as a paid assassin ! "
The fellow started.
" WTiat do you mean ? " he gasped.
" Just this. That 5^ou followed a certain lady who
accompanied this gentleman here — followed and
watched them for two hours." And then, fixing his
big, expressive eyes upon the man he was interrogating,
he added : " You followed them because your intention
was to carry out the plot conceived by your master —
the plot to kill them both ! "
THE PRICE OF POSTER 115
" It's a lie ! " cried the traitor. " There is no plot."
" Listen," exclaimed Hartwig, in a low, firm voice.
" It is your intention to commit an outrage, and having
done so, you will denounce to the police certain persons
living in this house. Arrests will follow, if any return
to Russia, the General will be congratulated by the
Emperor upon his astuteness in lading hands so quickly
upon the conspirators, and half-a-dozen innocent
persons will be sentenced to long terms of imprison-
ment, if they dare ever go back to their own country.
You see," he laughed, "that I am fully aware of the
remarkably ingenious programme in progress."
The man's face was pale as death. He -saw that
his secret was out.
" And now," Hartwig went on : " when I tell these
people who Hve below — your comrades and feUow-
workers in the revolutionary cause — what wiU they
say — eh ? WeU, Danilo Danilovitch, I shaU, when
I've finished with you, leave you to their tender mercies.
You remember, perhaps, the fate of Boutakoff, the
infomier at Kieff, how he was attached to a baulk of
timber and placed upon a circular saw, how Raspopoff
died of slow starvation in the hands of those whom he
had betrayed at Moscow, and how Mirski, in Odessa,
was horribly tortured and killed by the three brothers
of the unfortunate girl he had given into the hands
of the pohce. No," he laughed, " your friends show
neither leniency nor humanity towards those who
" But you will not do this ! " gasped the man, his
eyes dilated by fear, now that he had been brought to
" I have explained my intention," rephed Hartwig
slowly and firmly.
" But you will not 1 " he cried. " I — I implore you
to spare me ! You appear to know everything."
116 THE PRICE OF POWER
" Yes," was the reply. " I know how, by 3^our per-
fidious actions, dozens, nay hundreds, of innocent
persons have been sent into exile. To the revolu-
tionists throughout the whole of Russia there is one
great leader known as ' The One ' — the leader whose
identity is unknown, but whose word is law among a
hundred thousand conspirators. You are that man !
Your mandates are obeyed to the letter, but you keep
your identit}^ profoundly secret. These poor mis-
guided fools who follow you believe that the secrecy as
to the identity of their fearless leader whom the\' only
know as ' The Wonder Worker,' or generally ' The
One,' is due to a fear of arrest. Ah ! Danilo Danilo-
vitch," he laughed, " you who lead them so cleverly
are a strong man, and a clever man. You hold the
fate of all revolutionary Russia in your hand. You
form plots, you get 3'Our poor, ill-read puppets to carry
them out, and afterwards \'ou send them to Siberia in
batches of hundreds. A clever game this game of
terrorism. But I tell you frankly it is at an end now.
WTiat will these comrades of yours say when they are
made aware that ' The One ' — the man beheved by
so many to be sent providentially to sweep away the
dynasty and kill the enemies of freedom — is identical
with Danilo Danilovitch, the bootmaker of Kazan and
pohce-spy. Rather a blow to the revolutionary
organization — eh ? "
" And a blow for you," I added, addressing the
unkempt-looking fellow for the first time. Though I
confess that I did not recognize him as the man who
threw the bomb in Petersburg, I added : "It was you
who committed the dastardl}- outrage upon the Grand
Duke Nicholas, and for which many innocent persons
are now immured in those terrible cells below the water
at Schusselburg — you who intend that His Imperial
Highness's daughter ajid m3^self shall die ! " I cried.
THE PRICE OF POWER 117
He made no reply. He saw that we were in pos-
session of all the facts concerning his disgraceful past.
I could see how intensely agitated he had become, and
though he was striving to conceal his fear, yet his thin,
sinewy hands were visibly trembling.
" You admit, by your silence, that you were
author of that brutal outrage ! " exclaimed Hart-
wig quickly. " In it, m}^ friend here narrowly escaped
with his hfe. Now, answer me this question,"
he demanded imperiously. " With what motive
did you ' launch that bomb at the Grand Duke's
carriage ? "
" With the same motive that every attempt is made,"
was his bold reply.
" You he ! " Hartwig said bluntly. " That plot was
not yours. Confess it."
" No plot is mine. The various revolutionary circles
form plots, and I, as the unknown head, approve of
them. But," asked the spj^ suddenly, " who are you
that \^ou should question me thus ? "
" I have already given you my name," he said.
" Ivan Arapoff, of Petersburg."
" Then, Mr. Arapoff, I think we ma}' change the
topic of conversation," said the man, suddenly quite
calm and collected. I detected that, though an un-
principled scoundrel and without either conscience or
remorse, his was yet a strong and impelling personality
— a man who, among the enthusiastic students and the
3'ounger generation of Russia, which form the bulk of
the revolutionists, would no doubt be listened to and
obeyed as a leader.
" Good. If you wish me to leave you, I will do so.
I will go and have a little chat with your interesting
and enlightened friends downstairs," exclaimed Hart-
wig with a triumphant laugh. Then, turning to me,
he added : " Come, Mr. Trewinnard, let's go."
118 THE PRICE OF POWER
" No ! " gasped the spy. " No, stop ! I — I want to
fully understand what your intentions are — now that
you know the truth concerning the identity of * The
One ' and other recent matters."
" Intentions ! " echoed the great detective. "I
kave none. I have merely forewarned you of what you
must expect — the fate of the informer, unless "
" Unless what ? " he cried.
" Unless you confess the object of the outrage upon
the Grand Duke."
" I tell you I do not know."
" But the plot was your own. None of your com-
rades knew of it."
" It was not my own."
" You carried it out ? "
" And if I admit anything you will hand me oVer to
the police — eh ? "
" Surely you know that is impossible in England.
You cannot be arrested here for a poUtical crime/'
" I saw you throw the bomb," I added. " You
were dressed differently, but I now recognize you.
Come, admit it."
" I admit nothing," he answered sullenly. " You
are both of you entirely welcome to your opinions."
" Forty persons are now in prison for your crime,"
I said. " Have you no remorse — no pity ? " •
" I have nothing to say."
" But you shall speak," I cried angrily. " Once
I nearly lost my life because of the outrage you com-
mitted, and last night you followed me in Brighton with
the distinct purpose of kilhng both Her Highness and
myself. But you were frustrated — or perhaps you
feared arrest. But I tell \'ou plainly, if ever I catch
you in our vicinity again I shall hand you over to the
nearest policeman. And at the police-court the truth
THE PRICE OF POWER 110
concerning ' The One ' will quickly be revealed and
seized upon by the halfpenny press."
" We need not wait for that, Mr. Trewinnard,"
remarked Hartwig. " We can deal with him this
evening — once and for all. WTien we leave here we
shall leave with the knowledge that ' The One ' no
longer exists and the revolutionary party — Terrorists,
as they are pleased to call themselves on account of the
false bogy which the Secret Pohce have raised in Russia
— will take their own steps towards punishing the man
to whom they owe all the great disasters which have
befallen their schemes during the past couple of \-ears.
Truly, the vengeance of the Terrorist against his
betrayer is a terrible vengeance indeed."
As he spoke the creak of a footstep was heard on the
landing outside the locked door.
1 raised my linger to command silence, whereupon
the man known throughout aU revolutionary Russia
as " The One " crossed the room swiftly, and unlocking
the door, looked out. But he found no one.
Yet I feel certain that someone had been lurking
there. That slow creak of the bare boards showed
that the pressure of a foot had been released. Yet
whoever had been listening had escaped swiftly down
the stairs, now dark and unlighted. Danilovitch re-
entered the bedroom, his face white as a sheet.
" Somebody has overheard ! " he gasped in a low,
hoarse voice. " They know the truth ! "
" Yes," responded my companion in a hard, distinct
tone. " They know the truth because of your own
failure to be frank with us. I warned you. But you
have not heeded."
" Your words were overheard," he whispered.
" They no doubt suspected you to be officers of pohce
who had found me here in my hiding-place, and were,
therefore, hstening. I was a fool ! " he cried, throwing
120 THE PEICE OF POWER
his hands above his head. " I was an accursed
fool ! "
His hps were grey, his dark eyes seemed to be starting
from his head.
Weil did he know the terrible fate which awaited
him as a betra^'er and informer.
" W^iy did you throw that bomb ? " I cried. " Why
did you last night follow the Grand Duchess Natalia
with such e\Tl intent ? Tell me," I urged.
" No ! " cried /' The One," springing at me fiercely.
" I \vill tell 3'ou nothing — nothing ! " he shrieked.
'' You have betrayed me — 3'Ou have cast me into the
hands of m^' enemies. But, b}^ Heaven ! you shall
neither of you leave this place ahve," he shrieked.
" My comuades shall deal with you as you justly deserve.
I will see that 3'ou are not allovred to speak. Neither
of you shaU utter a single word against me ! "
Then with a harsh, triumphant laugh he called
loudly for help to those belov\'.
In £n instant Hartwig and I both reahzed that the
tables had been suddenly and unexpectedly turned
upon us, and that we were now placed in most deadly
and imminent peril. The object of the informer was
to close our mouths at once, for only by so doing could
he save himself from that terrible fate which must
assuredly befall him.
It was his own life — or ours !
A STATEMENT BY THE INFORMER
Quick as lightning, Hartwig drew a big Browning
revolver and thrust it into the informer's face, 'ex-
claiming firmly :
" Another word and. it will be your last ! "
THE PRICE OF POWER 121
The fellow started back, unprepared for such defiance.
He made a movement to cross the room, where no
doubt he had his own weapon concealed, but the pohce
officer was too quick for him and barred his passage.
" Look here ! " he said firmly. " This is a matter
to be settled between us, ^\ithout any interference
by your friends here. At word from me they would
instantly turn upon you as an enemy. Think ! Reflect
well — before it is too late ! " And he held the revolver
steadily a foot from the man's hard, pale face.
Danilo\dtch hesitated. He controlled the so-called
Terrorist movement with amazing ingenuity, plaving
three roles simultaneously. He was " The One," the
mysterious but all-powerful head of the organiza-
tion ; the ardent worker in the cause known as " the
shoe-maker of Kazan " ; and the base, unscrupulous
informer, who manufactured plots, and afterwards
consigned to prison all those men and women who
became impUcated in them.
" If I withdraw my cry of alarm will you promise
secrecy ? " he asked in a low, cringing tone.
From the landing outside came sounds of footsteps
and fierce demands in Russian from those he had sum-
moned to his assistance. Two of us against twenty
desperate characters as they were, would, I well knew,
stand but a poor chance. If he made any allegation
against us, we should be caught like rats in a trap, and
killed, as all police-spies are killed when denounced.
The arm of the Russian revolution is indeed a long one
— longer than that of the Secret Pohce itself.
" \Vhat has happened, Danilo ? " demanded a man's
rough voice. " \\lio are those strangers ? Let us in ! "
" Speak ! " commanded Hartwig. " Reassure them,
and let them go away. I have stiU much to say to
you in private."
His arm with the revolver was upraised, his eyes
122 THE PRICE OF POWER
unwavering. The informer saw determination in his
gaze. A further word of alarm, and a bullet would
pass through his brain.
For a few seconds he stood in sullen silence.
" .\11 right ! " he shouted to them at last. " It is
nothing, comrades. I was mistaken. Leave us in
We heard a murmuring of discontent outside, and
then the footsteps commenced to descend the steep
uncarpeted stairs. As they did so, Hartwig dropped
his weapon, saying :
" Now let us sit down and talk. I have several
questions I wish to put to you. If you answer frankly,
then I promise that I wlU not betra\' you to your
'' WTiat do you mean by ' frankly ' ? "
" I mean that you must tell me the exact truth."
The man's face grew dark ; his brows contracted ;
ke bit his finger-nails.
'' Wh.d± was the motive of the attempt you made
upon the Grand Duke Nicholas and his daughter, and
the gentleman here, Mr. Trewinnard ? "
" I don't know," he rephed.
" But you j'ourself committed the outrage ? "
'' At the orders of others."
" WTiose orders ? "
He did not reply. He was standing against the
small, cheap chest of drawers, his drawn face fuU in the
light of the hissing gas-jet.
" Come," said Hartwig firmly. " I wish to know this.".
" I cannot tell you."
" Then I \\ill tell you," the detective said in a hard
voice. " It was at the orders of your master. General
Markoff — the man who, finding that you were a revolu-
tionist, is using you as his tool for the manufacture of
bogus plots against the Emperor."
THE PRICE OF POWER 123
Danilovitch shnigged his shoulders, but uttered ne
" And you went again to Brighton last night at his
orders. You "
" I went to Brighton, I admit. But not at the
General's orders," he interrupted quickly.
" WTiy did you go ? \^Tiy did you follow Her
Imperial Highness and Mr. Trewinnard ? "
" I followed them because I had an object in so
" A sinister object ? "
" No. There 3'ou are mistaken. My object vras
not a sinister one. It was to watch and endeavour
to make clear a certain point which is a mystery to me."'
" A point concerning what ? "
" Concerning Her Imperial Highness," was his
" How does Her Highness concern you ? " I asked.
" You tried to kill her once. Therefore your intentions
must be evil."
" I deny that," he protested quickly. " I tell you
that I went to Brighton without thought of any evil
intent, and without the orders, or even knowledge, of
" But he is Her Highness's enemy."
" Yes, Excellency — and yours also."
" TeU me all that you know," I urged, adopting
a more concihatory tone. "It is outrageous that this
oppressor of Russia should conspire to kill an innocent
m.ember of the Imperial Family."
" I know nothing of the circum.stances. Excellency,"
he said, feigning entire ignorance.
" But he gave you orders to throw that bomb," I
said. " WTiat were your exact orders ? "
" I am not hkely to betray my employer," he laughed.
" If you do not answer these questions, then I shall
124 THE PRICE OF POWER
carry out my threat of exposure," Hartwig said in a
hard, determined voice.
" Well," said the informer hesitatingly, " my orders
were not to throw the bomb unless the Grand Duchess
NataHa was in the carriage."
" Then the plot was to kill her — but unfortunately
her father fell the victim of the dastardly outrage ! " I
" Yes," the man replied. " It was to kill her —
and you. Excellency."
" But why ? "
He shrugged his shoulders, and exhibited his palms
in a gesture of complete ignorance.
" And your present intention is to effect in Brighton
what you failed to do in Petersburg — eh ? "
" I have no orders, and it certainly is not my inten-
tion," responded the man, whom I remembered at
that moment had deUberately killed the girl Garine in
order to preserve his secret.
I turned from him in loathing and disgust.
" But you tell me that General Markofi intends that
we both shall come to an untimely end," I said a few
" He does. Excellency, and the ingenuity of the plot
against you both is certainly one which betrays his
devilish cunning," was the fellow's reply. " I have, I
assure you, no love for a man who holds my life in the
hollow of his hand, and whose word I am compelled
to obey on pain of exposure and death."
" You_ mean Markoff," I exclaimed. '' Tell me
something of this plot against me — so that I may be on
my guard," I urged.
" I know nothing concerning it. For that very
reason I went to Brighton yesterday, to try and discover
something," he said.
** And what did vou discover ? "
THE PRICE OF POWER 125
" A very remarkable fact. At present it is only
suspicion. I have yet to substantiate it."
" Cannot you tell me your suspicion ? "
" Not until I have had an opportunity of proving
it," was his quiet reply. " But I assure ^-ou that the
observation I kept upon Her Imperial Highness and
yourself was with no evil intent."
I smiled increduloush^ It was hard indeed to
believe a man of his subtle and unscrupulous character.
All that Tack had told me crowded through my brain.
As the catspaw of I\Iarkoff, it was not hkely that he
would teU me the truth.
Hart wig was leaning easily against the wooden
mantelshelf, watching us keenly. Of a sudden an idea
occurred to me, and addressing the informer, I said :
" I believe you are acquainted with my friend Madame
de Rosen and her daughter. Tell me what you know
" They were arrested and exiled to Siberia for the
attempt in the Nevski on the return of the Emperor
from the south," he said promptly.
Hartwig interrupted, saying gravely :
" And that attempt, Danilo Danilovitch, was con-
ceived by you — conceived in order to strike terror
into the Emperor's heart. You formed the plot and
handed over the list of the conspirators to your em-
ployer, Markoff — you, the person known to the Party
of the People's Will as ' The One.' "
" I knew of the plot," he admitted. " And though
I gave certain names to the police, I certainly did not
include the names of Madame de Rosen or of Made-
' " Why was she arrested ? "
He was silent for a few moments.
" Because her presence in Petersburg was dangerous
to the General," he said at last sullenly.
126 THE PRICE OF POWER
" You know this — eh ? You are certain of it — you
have evidence, I mean ? " asked Hartwig.
" You ask me for the truth," the informer said,
" and I tell you. I was extremely sorry for Madame
and the young lad}', for I knew them when I carried on
my trade as bootmaker. An hour after their arrest,
at about four o'clock in the morning, the General
ordered me to go and search their house for certain
letters which he described to me — letters which he
was extremely anxious to obtain. I went alone, as he
did not wish to alarm the neighbourhood by a domi-
ciliary visit of the police. I searched the house for
nearly nine hours, but failed to discover them. While
still engaged in the investigation I was recalled to the
house where it is my habit to meet the General in
secret, when he told me that by a false promise of
release he had extracted from Madame a statement that
the letters were no longer in her possession, and that
Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Natalia held
them in safe keeping. Madame, perfectly innocent as
she was of any connection with the conspirators, ex-
pected to be released after telling the truth ; but the
General said that he had only laughed in her face and
ordered her and her daughter to be sent off with the
next convoy of prisoners — who were leaving for Siberia
that same night. By this time the ladies are, I expect,
already in the great forwarding-prison at Tomsk.''
" And the letters ? " I demanded, my blood boiling
at hearing his stor}'."
" I was ordered to search for them," Danilovitch
replied. " The General gave me instructions how to
enter the palace of the Grand Duke Nicholas and there
to investigate the apartments of the Grand Duchess
Natalia. I refused at first, knowing that if I were
detected as an intruder I should be shot at sight by
the sentries. But he insisted," the man added. " He
THE PRICE OF POWER 127
told me that if I persisted in my refusal he would expose
me as a spy. So I was compelled to make the attempt,
well knowing that discovery meant certain death. The
sentries have orders to shoot any intruder in the Grand
Ducal palace. On four occasions I went there at
imminent risk, and on the fourth I was successful. I
found the letters concealed in a room which had once
been used as Her Highness's nursery."
" And what did you do with them ? "
" I met the General at our usual meeting-place and
handed them to him. He was at first delighted. But
a moment later, finding that the seal of the envelope
in which were the letters had been broken, he charged
me with reading them. I denied it, and "
*' Then you did not read them ? You do not know
what they contained, or who they were from ? "
" They were from General Markofi himself. I looked
at the signatures, but, alas ! I had no time to read
them. I drove straight to the meeting-place, where
the General was awaiting me."
" They were from the General I" I echoed. " To
whom ? "
" They bore his signature — one a long letter, closely
written," was the informer's repty. " Seeing that
the seal had been broken, the General flew into a sudden
rage and declared that the Grand Duchess Natalia had
learned what they contained. The words he used to
me were : ' The girl must be silenced — silenced at once,
Danilovitch. And you must silence her. She knows
the truth ! ' "
" Well ? " I asked.
" Well," he said, his mouth drawn and hard, " under
compulsion and more threats of exposure, I launched the
bomb, which, alas ! killed her father, while the young
lady escaped unhurt."
"Then he still intends that Her Highness shall die ?
128 THE PRICE OF POWER
His warning the other day was no idle attempt to
terrorize me ? ''
" No, Excellency. Take every precaution. The.
General means mischief, for he is in hourly fear lest
Her Highness should expose certain facts contained
in those fateful letters which have already cost two
ladies their liberty and a Grand Duke and several
Cossacks their lives."
"Is this the actual truth?" asked Hartwig in a
changed voice, looking the informer full in the face.
"Yes," he answ^ered solemnly. " I have told you
the truth ; therefore I believe your solemn w^ord that
you will make no exposure to the Party."
" If you will disassociate yourself from these dastardly
actions," he said.
" Ah ! " sighed the other in despair, " that is im-
possible. The General holds me alw-a^^s to the com-
pact I made with him. But I beg of you to be warned,"
he added. " Her Highness is daily in gravest peril ! "
Shortly after eleven o'clock that same evening I was
strolling with Hartwig up and down the deserted plat-
form at Victoria Station, my intention being to take
the eleven-fifty p.m. train back to Brighton.
For a full hour we had pressed the informer to explain
the real reason of his visit to Brighton on the previous
day. But beyond assuring us that it was not wdth any
evil intent — which I confess we could scarcety believe
— he declined to reveal anything.
He only repeated his warning that Natalia was in
grave personal danger, and entreated me to be careful.
The refugees in that house, all of them Russians,
THE PRICE OF POWER 129
seemed filled with intense curiosity regarding us, and
especially so, perhaps, because of Hartwig's declara-
tion that he was bearer of a message from that mys-
sterious leader who was believed to live somewhere
in Moscow, and was known throughout the Russian
Empire as " The One."
No doubt after our departure Danilovitch had told
them of some secret message he had received from the
mysterious head of the organization, who was none
other than himself.
But his confession had held both of us practically
silent ever since we had left that dingy house in Lower
" Markoff believes that Her Highness is aware of
the contents of those letters," Hartwig said as we
strolled together in the great, well-lit station. Few
people were about just at that hour, for the suburban
theatre-goers had not yet arrived. " For that reason
it is intended that her mouth shall be closed."
" But this is murder ! " I cried in hot indignation.
" I will go straight to the Emperor, and tell him."
" And what benefit would that be ? His Majesty
would declare it to be an effort by some of the General's
enemies to disgrace him," my companion said. " Such
damning statements have been made before, but, alas 1
no heed has been taken of them ! "
" But His Majesty shall hear — and he shall take
notice ! I will demand in inquiry into the arrest and
exile of Madame de Rosen."
" I thought \'0u told me that you had already men-
tioned her name to His Majesty," Hartwig said quietly.
I had forgotten. Yes. His words recalled to me my
effort on her behalf, and the futihty of my appeal. I
sighed, and bit my lip. The two innocent ladies were
on their way to that far-off dreaded penal settlement of
Yakutsk. From the time which had elapsed since
130 THE PRICE OF POWER
their arrest I calculated that they were already in
Siberia, trudging that long, never-ending post-road —
that wide, deeply-rutted track which runs across those
boundless plains between Tobolsk and Tomsk — on the
first stage of their terrible journey of over six thousand
miles on foot.
A sudden suggestion flashed across my mind. Should
I follow, overtake them and hear the truth from Mar\-a
de Rosen's lips ?
Yet before doing so I should be compelled to apply
for a passport and permits at the Ministr\^ of the Interior
at Petersburg. If I did this, Markoff would at once
suspect my intention, for travellers do not go to Siberia
for pleasure. And if he suspected my intention a way
would quickly be found by which, when I arrived at
my destination, neither of the ladies would be aUve.
In Siberia, where there is neither law nor inquiry, it
was, I knew, ver\^ easy to close the hps of any person
w^hcse existence might be prejudicial to the authorities.
A w^ord from General Markoff, and an accident would
No. I realized that to relax my vigilance over the
safety of Natalia at that moment would be most in-
judicious. Besides, was not Xataha herself aware of
the contents of the letters ? If not, why had her
enemies made the firm determination that she should
meet with a sudden and mysterious end ?
I mentioned to my companion my inchnation to
travel across Siberia in search of the exiles ; but he
only shook his head gravely, saying :
'' You are, no doubt, under very close observation.
Even if you went, 3'ou might, by so doing, place yourself
in grave personal peril. Remember, Markoff is despe-
rate. The contents of those letters, whatever they may
be, are evidently so damning that he cannot afford
exposure. The pains he took to secure them, and to
THE PRICE OF POWER 131
send Madame de Rosen into exile, plainly show this.
No," he added, " the most judicious plan is to remain
here, near Her Highness, and watch Markoff's
" If Her Highness would only reveal to me the
secret of those letters, then we should be in a position
to defy Markoff and reveal him before, the Emperor in
his true light," I said.
" She has refused — eh ? "
" Yes. I have questioned her a dozen times, but
always with the same result," was my answer.
" But will she refuse, if she knows that her father's
tragic end was due to the wild desire of Markoff to close
her lips ? "
" Yes. I have already pointed that out to her. Her
reply is that what she learnt was in confidence. It is
her friend's secret, and she cannot betray it. She is
the very soul of honour. Her word is her bond."
" You wiU tell her now of Danilovitch's confession ;
how the letters were stolen and handed back to the
General by the man whom he holds so completely in
his power ? " Hartwig said.
" I shaU. But I fear it wiU make no difference.
She is, of course, eager to expose the General to the
Emperor and effect his do\Mifall. She is fully aware
of his corrupt and brutal maladministration of the
department of Political Police, of the bogus plots, and
the wholesale deportment of thousands of innocent
persons. But it seems that she gave a pledge of secrecy
to poor madame, and that pledge she refuses to break at
any cost. ' It is Marv'a's secret,' she told me, ' not
As we were speaking, a taU, straight, good-looking
young man in crush-hat and black overcoat over his
dinner-clothes had strolled along the platform awaiting
132 THE PRICE OF POWER
My eyes caught his features as he went, when sud-
denly I recognized in the 3'Oung man Richard Dru^\^
whom Her Highness had told me she had known in her
school-days at Eastbourne. I glanced after him and
watched his figure retreating leisurel}^ as he smoked a
cigarette until he came beneath a lamp where he
halted. Then, producing an evening paper, he com-
menced to while away the time by reading. He was
e\ddently returning to Brighton by my train.
Apparently the }'oung fellow had not recognized me
as Miss Gottorp's companion of the previous night,
therefore standing near, I had an opportunity of
examining him well. He was certainly a typical speci-
men of the keen, clean-shaven young EngHshman, a
man who showed good-breeding, and whose eas}" air
was that of the gentleman.
Yet I confess that what Her Highness had revealed
to me both alarmed and annoyed me. Madcap that
she was, I knew not what folly she might commit.
Nevertheless, after all, so long as she preserved her
incGg?itio no great harm would be done. It was hard
upon her to den\^ her the least suspicion of flirtation,
especially v/ith one whom she had known in the days
before she had put up her hair and put on her ankle-
Hart-wdg and I were undecided what our next move
should be, and we were discussing it. One fact was
plain, that in view of the assertion of Danilovitch, I
v/ould now be compelled to keep constant watch over
the skittish young lady whom the Em.peror had given
into my charge. My idea of following and overtaking
Madame de Rosen in Siberia was out of all question.
" Are you remaining long in London ? " I asked
the police official, just as I was about to step into the
" Wno knows ? " he laughed. " I am at the ' Savo}/.'
THE PRICE OF POWER 133
The Embassy is unaware I am in England. But I
move quickly, as you know. Perhaps to-morrow I
may have to return to Petersburg. An revoir."
And I wished him adieu, and got into an empty first-
class compartment just as the train was moving from
I sat in the corner of the carriage full of grave and
That strange suspicion which the Emperor had
revealed to me on the afternoon before the last Court
ball recurred to me. I held my breath as a sudden
idea flashed across my brain. Had it any connection
with this foul but cunningly-conceived plot to kill an
innocent girl whose only offence was that she was in
possession of certain information which, if revealed,
would, I presumed, cause the downfall of that camarilla
surrounding the Emperor ?
The thought held me in wonder.
Ah ! if only the Emperor would listen to the truth
— if only he would view Markoff and his friends in
their true character ! But I knew, alas ! that such
development of the situation was impossible. Russia,
and with her the Imperial Court, was being terrorized
by these desperate attempts to assassinate the Em-
peror. Hence His Majesty relied upon Markoff for
the safety of the dynasty. He looked upon him as a
marvel of astuteness and cunning, as indeed he was.
But, alas ! the burly, grave-eyed man who led a life
haunted by the hourly fear of death — an existence in
armoured rooms and armoured trains, ani^ surrounded
by guards whom he even grew to suspect — was in
ignorance that the greater part of the evidence of con-
spiracies, incriminating correspondence and secret
proclamations put before him had been actually manu-
factured by Markoff himself !
At last, after an hour, the express ran slowly into the
134 THE PRICE OF POWER
Brighton terminus, and as it did so, I caught sight of
a figure waiting upon the platform, which caused me
to quickly draw back. The figure was that of a young
girl neatly dressed in black with a small black hat, and
though she wore a veil of spotted net I recognized her
at once as Natalia ! She was smiling and waving her
tiny black-gloved hand to someone. In an instant I
knew the truth. She was there, even though it were
past one o'clock in the morning, to meet her lover,
I saw him spring out, raise his hat and shake her
hand warmly, and then, taking care not to be seen, I
followed them out as they walked side by side down
the hill in the direction of King's Road.
This action of hers showed her recklessness and lack
of discretion. Apparently she had walked all the way
from Hove in order to meet him, and as they strolled
together along the dark, deserted road he was evidently
explaining something to her, while she listened very
Surely it was unsafe for her to go forth like that !
I was surprised that Miss West allowed it. But, in all
probability that worthy lady was in bed, and asleep,
all unconscious of her charge's escapade.
I had not followed very far before I became aware
of a footstep behind me, and, turning, I saw a small,
insignificant-looking man in dark clothes, who came
quickly up to me. It was one of the poHce-agents
employed at the house in Brunswdck Square.
" WeU, Dmitri ! " I exclaim.ed in a low voice in
French. " So you are looking after your young mis-
tress — eh ? " I asked, with a laugh, pausing to speak
with him in order to aUow the lovers to get further
" Yes, m'sieur," replied the man in a tone of distinct
THE PRICE OF POWER 135
'' This is hardly wise of Her Higliness," I said. " This
is not the hour to go out for a stroll."
"No, m'sieur," replied the shrewd agent of police,
who had been for years employed at the palace of the
late Grand Duke Nicholas in Petersburg. " I tell you
I do not think it either safe or proper. These constant
meetings must result in scandal."
" WTio is that young man .^ " I asked quickly. " Yoii
have made inquir\% no doubt ? "
" Yes, m'sieur, I have. But I can learn very little.
He seems to be a complete mystery — an adventurer,
perhaps," declared the suspicious pohce-agent in a low,
hard voice ; adding : " The fact is, that man who
calls himself Richard Drur\^ is, I feel sure, no fit com-
panion for Her Imperial Highness."
" Why not ? " I demanded in eager surprise.
" Because he is not," was the mean's enigmatical
repfy. " I do hope m'sieur wdll warn Her Imperial
Highness of the danger," he said reflectively, looking
in the direction of the retreating figures.
" Danger ! " I echoed. " What danger ? "
" There is a grave danger," he asserted firmly.
" I have watched, as is my duty, and I know. Her
Highness endeavours all she can to evade my vigilance,
for naturally it is not pleasant to be watched while
carr\4ng on a flirtation. But she does not know what
I have discovered concerning this stranger with whom
she appears to have fallen so deeply in love. They must
be parted, m'sieur — parted at once, before it is too
" But what have you discovered ? " I asked.
" One astounding and most startling fact," was his
slow, dehberate reply ; "a fact which demands their
136 THE PRICE OF POWER
HER HIGHNESS IS OUTSPOKEN
" Now, Uncle Colin ! It's reaUy too horrid of you to
spy upon me like that ! I had no idea you wefe beliind
u5 ! I knew old Dmitri was there — he watches me just
as a cat watches a mouse. But I never thought you
would be so nasty and mean ! " And the girl in her
fresh white gown stood at the window of the drawing-
room drumming impatiently upon the pane with the
tips of her long, white lingers, for it was raining outside.
" My dear Natalia," I said paternally, standing upon
the white goat-skin hearthrug, and looking across at
her ; "I did not watch you intentionally. I travelled
by the same train as your friend, and I saw you meet
him. Really," I laughed, " you looked a most interest-
ing pair as you walked together down Queen's i^'oad.
I left you at the comer of Western Road and went on
to the ' Metropole.' "
" Oh ! you actually did have the decency to do
that ! " she exclaimed, turning to me her pretty face
clouded by displeasure. " WeU, I say quite frankly
that I think it was absolutely horrid of you. Surely
I may meet a friend without being spied upon at every
turn ! " she added resentfully.
" Dmitri only does his duty, remember," I ventured
" Oh, Dmitri's a perfect plague. He shadows me
everywhere. His crafty face irritates me whenever
I see it."
" This constant surveillance is only for 3'our own
protection," I said. " Recollect that you are a member
of the Imperial family, and that already six of your
uncles and cousins, as well as your poor father, have
THE PRICE OF POWER 137
met with violent deaths at the hands of the revolu-
" I know. But it is perfectly absurd ever to dream
that they want to kill me — a girl whose only object
is to live quietly and enjoy her life."
"And her flirtations," I added, striving to make her
I was successful, for a smile came to her pretty,
pouting lips, and she said :
" Well, Uncle CoHn, other girls may flirt and have
men friends. Therefore I can't see why it is so actually
sinful for me to do the same."
" But think for a moment of your position ! "
" Position ! " she echoed. " I'm only plain Miss
Natalia Gottorp here. VtTi}^ should I studv my
family ? "
" Ah ! " I sighed. " I know how wayward you are.
No amount of argument will, I fear, ever convince you
of your error."
" Oh, yes," she sighed, in imitation of the sadness
of my tone, sa\dng : "I know what a source of trouble
and deep anxiety the wicked, wayw^ard child is to you."
Then, next moment, she burst out into a merry,
mischievous laugh, adding :
" It's reaUy too bad of me to tease you, poor old
Uncle Colin, isn't it ? But there, you're not really
old. I looked you up in ' Who's WTio ' only yester-
day. You're only thirty-tw^o next Thursday week.
And if you are a very good boy I'll give you a nice
little present. Shall I work you a pair of shppers —
eh ? " she asked, with sarcasm, " or a winter waist-
coat ? "
" Thanks. I hate girls' needlework," I repUed
frankty, amused at her sudden change of demeanour.
" Very well. You shall have a new cigarette-case,
a solid gold one, with our grand Imperial arms engraved
138 THE PRICE OF POWER
on it and underneath the words ' From Tattie.' How
will that do — eh ? " she laughed.
" Ah ! now you're only tr^dng to tease me," I said.
" I wonder if you tease Mr. Drury like that ? "
" Oh ! Dick knows me. He doesn't mind it in the
least," she declared, looking at me with those wonder-
ful eyes that were so much admired everjrwhere.
" Have a cigarette," and she handed me a box of
Petroffs, and taking one herself, lit it, and then threw
herself neghgently into an arm-chair, lazily displaying
a pair of neat silk stockinged ankles and patent-leather
" I certainly tliink that Mr. Dick is a ver>^ lucky
young fellow," I said, " though I tell you openly that
I entirely disapprove of these constant meetings.
Remember your promise to me before we left Peters-
" Well, I've been a very wa^^'ard child — even an
incorrigible child, I suppose — and I've broken my
promise. That's all," she said, blowing a cloud of
smoke from her red lips. Like all Russian ladies,
she enjoyed a cigarette.
" I certainly think you ought to have kept your
word," I said,
" But Dick, I tell you, is an old friend. I couldn't
cut him, could I ? "
" You need not have cut him," I said. '' But I
consider it unnecessary to steal out of the house after
Miss West has gone to bed, and meet him at the station
at one o'clock in the morning."
" Then upon that point we'll agree to differ. Fm
old enough to be my own mistress, and if you continue
to lecture me, I shall be very annoyed with you."
" My dear Natalia, I do not blame you in the least
for falling in love. How can I ? " I said in a changed
tone, for I knew that the young lady so petted and
THE PRICE OF POWER 139
spoiled by her earlier training must be treated with
greatest caution and tact. " Why, shall I confess a
truth ? " I asked, looking her straight in the face.
" Yes, do," she said.
" Well, if I were ten years younger I should most
certainly fall in love with you m^^self," I laughed.
" Don't be so silly. Uncle Cohn ! " she exclaimed.
" But would that be so very terrible ? WTiy, you're
not an old man yet," she added, her cheeks having
flushed slightly at my words.
" Now you're blushing," I said.
" I'm not ! " she cried stoutly. " You're simply
horrid this morning," she declared vehemently, turning
away from me.
" Is it horrid of me to pay you a compliment ? "
I asked. " I merely expressed a devout wish that
I were standing in Drury's shoes. Every man likes
to be kissed by ?. pretty girl, whether she be a shop-
girl or a Grand Duchess."
" Oh, yes. You are quite right there. Most men
make fools of themselves over women."
" Especially ' when their beauty is so world-famed
as that of the Grand Duchess Natalia I "
" Now, there you are again ! " she cried. "I do
wish you'd change the topic of conversation. You're
horrid, I say."
And. she gave a quick gesture of impatience, blew
a great cloud of smoke from her lips and. put down her
half-consumed cigarette upon the little silver ash-
" Oh, my ! " she exclaimed at last. " What a funny
lover you would make, Uncle Colin ! You fancy
yourself as old as Methuselah, and your hide-bound
ideas of etiquette, your straitlaced morality, and your
respect of les convenances are those in vogue when
your revered Queen Victoria ascended the throne
140 THE PRICE OF POWER
of Great Britain. You're not living with the times,
my dear uncle. You're an old-fashioned diplomat.
To-day the world is very different to that in which your
father was bom."
" I quite agree. And I regret that it is so," I replied.
" These are surely very lax and degenerating days,
when girls may go out unchaperoned, and the meeting
of a man in the early hours of the morning passes
" It unfortunately hasn't passed unremarked/' she
said, with a pretty pout. " You take jolly good care
to rub it in every moment ! It really isn't fair," she
declared. "I'm very fond of you, Uncle Colin, but you
are really a little too old-fashioned."
" You 'are comparing me with 3^oung Drury, I
suppose ? "
" Oh, Dick isn't a bit old-fashioned, I assure you,"
she declared. " He's been at Oxford. He doesn't
dream and let the world go b\'. But, Uncle Colin,"
she went on, " I wonder that 3'ou, a diplomat, are so
stiff and proper. I suppose it's the approved British
diplomatic training. I'm only a girl, and therefore
am not supposed to know any of the tremendous
secrets of diplomac\\ But it always strikes me that,
for the most part, 3'ou diplomats are exceptionally
dull folk. In our Court circle we always declare them
to be inflated with a sense of their own importance,
and fift\^ 3'ears behind the times."
I laughed outright. Her view was certainly a
common-sense one. The whole training of British
diplomac}^ is to continue the traditions of Pitt and
Beaconsfield. Diplomacy does not, alas ! admit a
new and modern regime affecting the world ; it ignores
modem thought, modem conditions and modem
methods. " Up-to-date " is an expression unknown
in the diplomat's vocabulary. The Foreign Office
THE PRICE OF POWER 141
instil the lazy, do-nothing policy of the past, the
traditions of Palmerston, Clarendon and Dudley are
still the traditions of to-day in every British Embassy
throughout the world ; and, unfortunately for Britain,
the lesson has yet to be learned by our diplomacy that
to be strong is to be acute and subtle, and to be dic-
tatorial is to be entirely up-to-date. The German
diplomacy is that of keen progress and anticipation ;
that of Turkey craft and cunning ; of France, tact,
with exquisite politeness. But Britain pursues her
heavy, blundering " John Bull " programme, which,
though effective in the days of Beaconsfield, now only
results in the nation's isolation and derision, certain of
her ambassadors to the Powers being familiarly known
at the Courts to which they are accredited as " The
Man with the Gun."
" What you say is, in a sense, quite true," I ad-
mitted. " But I'm so sorry if Tm really very dull.
1 don't mean to be."
" Oh ! You'll improve under my tuition — and Dick's
— no doubt," she exclaimed reassuringly.
Her Highness was nothing if not outspoken.
" The fact is. Uncle Colin," she went on seriously,
" you're far too old-fashioned for your age. You are
not old, but your ideas are so horribly antiquated.
Girls of to-day are allowed a freedom which our grand-
mothers would have held as perfectly sinful. Girls
have become independent. A young fellow takes a girl
out to dinner and to the theatre, and even to supper
nowadays, and nobody holds up their hands in pious
horror — only you ! It isn't fair," she declared.
" Girls of the people are allowed a great deal of
latitude, I admit. And as far as I can see, the world
is none the worse for it," I said. " But what other
girls may do, you, an Imperial Highness, unfortunately
may not "
142 THE PRICE OF POWER
** That's just where we don't agree," she said in a
tone meant to be impertinent, her straight nose slightly-
raised as she spoke. " I intend to do as other girls do
— at least, while I'm plain Miss Gottorp. They call
me the ' Little Alien ' — so Miss West heard me called
the other day."
" No," I said very firmly, looking straight at her
as she lolled, easily in her chair, her chin resting on her
white palm as she gazed at me from beneath her long,
dark lashes. " You really must respect the con-
venances. If you take a stroU with young Drury, do
so at least in the daylight."
" And with Dmitri watching me aU the time from
across the road. Not quite," she said. " I like the
Esplanade when it is quiet and everybody is in bed.
It is so pleasant on these warm nights to sit upon a
seat and enjoy the moonlight on the sea. Sounds like
an extract from a novel, doesn't it ? " and she laughed
" I fear you are becoming romantic," I said. ■ " Every
girl becomes so at one period of her life."
" Do you think so ? " she asked, smihng. " Myself,
I don't fancy I have any romance in me. The
Romanoffs are not a romantic lot as a rule. They
are usually too mercenary. I love nice things."
" Because you are cultured and possess good taste.
That is exactly what leads to romance."
*' I have the good, taste to choose Dick as a friend,
I suppose y^ou mean ? " she asked, with an intention
to irritate me.
''Ah, I did not exactly say that."
" But you meant it, nevertheless. You know you
did, Uncle Colin."
I did not reply for a few moments. I was recalling
what Dmitri had told me — that strange allegation of
his that this young man, Richard Drury, was an enigma,
THE PRICE OF POWER 143
an adventurer. He had told me that he was no fit
companion for her, and yet when pressed, he apparently
could give no plain reason. He had. been unable to
discover much concerning the young fellow — probably
because of his failure it seemed he had become convinced
that the object of his inquiry was an adventurer.
Suddenly rising, I stood before her, and placing my
hand upon her shoulder, said :
" I came here this morning to speak to you very
seriously, Natalia. Can you really be serious for
once ? "
" I'm always serious," she replied. " Well — another
lecture ? "
" No, not a lecture, you incorrigible little flirt. I
want to ask you a plain question. Please answer me,
for a great deal — a very great deal — depends upon it.
Are you aware of what was contained in those letters
w^hich Madame de Rosen gave you for safe-keeping ? "
" I have long ago assured you that I am. Why do
you ask again ?-"
" Because there is one point which I wish to clear
up," I said. " I thought you told me that they were
in a sealed envelope ? "
" So they were. But when I heard of Marya's
exile, and that Luba had been sent with her, I broke
open the seal and investigated the contents."
" And what did you find ? "
"Ah! That is my business. Uncle Colin. I have
already told you that I absolutely refuse to betray the
secrets of my poor dear friend. You surely ought not
to ask me. You have no right to press me to commit
such a breach of trust."
" I ask you because so much depends upon the extent
of your knowledge," I said. " I have already solved
the secret of the disappearance of the letters from the
place where you hid them in the palace."
144 THE PRICE OF POWER
" Then you know who stole them ! " she gasped,
starting to her feet. " Tell me. Who was the thief ? "
" A man whom 3^ou do not know. He has confessed
to me. He was not a willing thief, but a wretched
assassin, whom General Markoff holds as his catspaw,
aiid compels to perform his dirty work."
" Then the General has secured them ! My suspicions
are confirmed ! " she gasped, all the colour dying from
her beautiful face.
" He has. The theft was committed under com-
pulsion, and at imminent risk to the thief, who most
certainly would have been shot by the sentries, if dis-
covered. The letters were handed by him back to
My words held her dumbfounded for a few seconds.
She did not speak. Then she said in a hard, changed
" Ah ! Markoff has destroyed them ! The proof no
longer exists, therefore I am powerless ! How I wish
I were permitted to speak — to reveal the truth ! "
Her teeth were set, her face was white and hard, and
the fingers of both hands had clenched themselves into
" But you know the truth ! " I cried. " Will you
not speak ? Will you never reveal it ? It is surely
your duty to do so," I urged.
But she only shook her head sadly, saying :
" I cannot betray her confidence."
." Remember," t said, " by exposing this secret
which Markoff has been at such infinite' pains to keep,
you can perhaps obtain the release of poor Marya and
her daughter ! Is it not your plain duty ? " I urged
in a low, earnest voice.
But she only again shook her head resolutely.
" No, I cannot expose the secrets of my lost friend.
It was her secret which I swore to her I would never
THE PRICE OF POWER 145
revea^" she responded in a harsh, strained voice.
" Mar'ioff has secured the proofs and destroyed them.
I suspected it from the lirst. That brute is my bitterest
enemy, as he is also Marya's. But, aias ! he is all-
powerfii ! He has played a clever double game — ahd
he has won — he has won ! "
SHOWS hartvvig's anxiety
Her Highniss's firm refusal to reveal to me the
contents of those letters, the knowledge of which had
caused Madame de Rosen and her daughter to be sent
to Siberia, while the Grand Duke Nicholas, her father,
had lost his life, disappointed me.
For a full hour I remained there, tr^'ing by all means
in my power 1o persuade her to assist me in the over-
throw of the hated Chief of Secret Police.
She would rave done so, she declared, were it not
for the fact tlat she had given her solemn word of
honour to Marya de Rosen not to divulge anything she
knew concemir^ the contents of those mysterious
letters. That compact she held sacred. She had given
her faithful pronise to her friend. '
I pointed out to her the determination she had
expressed, to me in Petersburg that she intended to
reveal to the Emjeror his favourite in his true light,
and thus avenge ihe lives of thousands of innocent
persons who had di^d on their way to exile or in the
foetid, overcrowded prisons of Moscow, and Tomsk,
and the vermin-infested Stapes of the Great Post Road.
But in reply she signed deeply, and, looking straight
before her in desperaton, declared that she had now
no proof ; and even f she had, she had not the
146 THE PRICE OF POWER
permission of Mary a de Rosen to make the exposure.
"It is her secret — her own personal secret," sle said.
" I vowed not to reveal it."
Then for th^ first time I indicated her ovn peril.
Hitherto I had not wished to alarm her. Bit I now
showed her how it would be to the advanta^^e of the
General, cunning, daring and unscrupulous ts he was,
that some untoward incident should occur by which
her life would be sacrificed in his desperate attem.pt to
conceal the truth.
In silence she listened to me, her beaut'ful face pale
and graver than I had ever before seen it At last she
realized the peril.
" Ah ! " she sighed, and then, as though speaking
to herself, said : "If only I could obtain Marya's con-
sent to speak — to tell the Emperor the truth ! But
that is now quite impossible. No letter could ever
reach her, and, indeed, we have no idei where she is.
She is, alas ! as dead to the world as tiough she were
in her grave ! " she added sadly.
I reflected fOr a moment.
" If it were not that I feared lest misfortune might
befall you during my absence. Highness, I would at
once follow and overtake her."
" Oh, but the long journey to Siberia ! Why, it
would take you at least six months ! That is quite
" Not impossible. Highness," I responded very
gravely. " I am prepared to uncertake the journey
for your sake — and hers — for the s;:ke of the Emperor."
" Ah ! I know, Uncle Colin, how good you always
are to me, but I couldn't ask you to undertake a winter
journey such as that, in search o poor Marya."
" If I go, will you, on your pat, promise me solemnly
not to go out on these night ecapades ? Indeed, it is
not judicious of you to walk out at all, unless one or
THE PRICE OF POWER 147
other oi the police-agents is in close attendance upon
you. One never knows, in these present circumstances,
what may happen," I said. " And as soon as Markoff
iknows that I have set out for Siberia, he will guess the
reason, and endeavour to bring disaster upon both of
us, as well as upon the exile herself."
For some minutes she did not reply. Then she said :
" You must not go. It is too dangerous for you — ■
far too dangerous. I will not allow it."
" If you refuse to reveal Marya's secret, then I shall
go," was my quiet response. " I shall ask the Emperor
to send you Hartwig, to be near you. He will watch
over your safety until my return."
" Ah ! his alertness is simply raarv^ellous," she
declared. " Did you read in the London papers last
week how cleverly he ran to earth the three men who
robbed the Volga Kama Bank in Moscow of a quarter
of a million roubles ? "
" Yes. I read the account of it. He was twice
shot at by the men before they were arrested. But he
seems always to lead a charmed life. While he is at
your side, I shall certainly entertain no fear."
" Then 3'ou have really decided to go ? " she said,
looking at me with brows slightly knit. " I cannot tell
— I cannot — what I read in those letters after giving
my word of honour to Marya."
" I have decided," I said briefly.
'' I do not hke the thought of your going. Some-
thing dreadful may happen to 3''ou."
" I shall be wary — never fear," I assured her with a
laugh. " I intend to secure the release of Madame
and Luba — to set right an unjust and outrageous wrong.
I admire your firm devotion to your friend, but I will
bring back to you, I hope, her written permission to
speak and reveal the truth."
Five minutes later I rose, and we descended to the
148 THE PRICE OF POWER
hall, where patient Dmitri was idling over his French
Then the weather being fine again, we passed out
together into the autumn sunshine of the Lawns, at
that hour of the morning agog with well-dressed pro-
menaders and hundreds of pet dogs. And a few moments
later we came face to face with Richard Drury, to whom
she introduced me as " Mr. Cohn Trewinnard, my uncle,
Mr. Drury." We bowed mutually, and then all three
of us strolled on together, though he seemed a Uttle
ill at ease in my presence.
I had made a firm resolution. In order to learn
the secret of those letters and to place Her Highness,
who so honourably refused to break her word, in a
position to expose the unscrupulous official who was the
real Oppressor of Russia, I intended to set out on that
long journey in search of the exile, now, alas ! unknown
by name, but only by number.
Drury struck me as a rather good fellow, and no
doubt a gentleman. We halted together, and, when
near the pier, he raised his hat and left us.
Before leaving Brighton I had j^et much to do. I
was not altogether satisfied concerning the young man,
my object being to try and learn for myself something
more tangible regarding him.
" Well,'' she asked, when he had gone, " what is j'our
verdict. Uncle Cohn ? "
" Favourable," I repHed, whereat she smiled in
An hour later I succeeded in obtaining a short confi-
dential chat with the hall-porter of the Royal York
Hotel, whom I found quite ready to assist me. As I
had suspected, Dmitri had failed and formed utterly
wrong conclusions, because of his lack of fluent EngUsh.
It is alwa^^s extremely difficult for a foreigner to obtain
confidential information in England.
THE PRICE OF POWER 11.9
The hall-porter, however, told me that their visitor
was well known to them, and had frequently stayed
there for several months at a time. He had, he believed,
formerly lived with his invalid mother at Eastbourne.
But the lady had died, and he had then gone to hve
in bachelor chambers in London. From the bureau
of the hotel he obtained the address, scribbled on a bit
of paper — an address in Albemarle Street, Piccadilly,
to which letters were sometimes re-directed.
" And he has a friend — a doctor — hasn't he ? " I
asked the man.
" Oh, yes, sir. You mean Doctor Ingram. He
was down here with him the other day."
Having obtained all the information I could, I
telegraphed to Hartwig at the Savoy Hotel, asking
him to make inquiries at Albemarle Street and then to
come to Brighton immediately, for I dared not leave
until I could place my little madcap charge in safe
hands. I knew not into what mischief she might get
so soon as my back was turned.
That afternoon we strolled together across the
Lawns, and presently sat down to listen to the mihtary
She looked extremely neat in her dead-black gown,
which, by its cut and material, bore the unmistakable
cachet of the Rue de la Paix, and as we passed up and
down I saw many a head turned in her direction in
admiration of her remarkable beauty. Little did that
crowd of seaside idlers dream that this extremely prett}^
girl in black who was so much of a mystery to everv^body
was a member of the great Imperial House of Russia.
She was believed to be Miss Gottorp, whose father
had been German and her mother English, both of
whom were recently dead.
Seeing her so often walking with me, everyone,
of course, put me down as the lucky man to whom
150 THE PRICE OF POWER
she was engaged to be married, and I have Uttie doubt
that many a young man envied me. How strange is
the world !
Wlien in a tantaUzing mood she often referred to
that popular behef, and that afternoon, while we rested
upon two of the green chairs set apart from the others
on the Lawn, she said :
"I'm quite sure that everybody in Hove is convinced
that I am to be Mrs. Trewinnard ; " and then, referring
to her Enghsh maid, she added : " Davey has heard it
half a dozen times already."
I laughed merrily, saving :
" Well, that's only to be expected, I suppose. But
what about Drury — eh ? "
" They don't see verv^ much of Dick. We only
meet at night," she laughed, poking the grass with
" And that you really must not do in future," I said
" Then I can go about with him in the daytime —
eh ? " she asked, looking up imploringly into my face.
" My dear child," I said, " though I do not approve
of it, yet how can I debar you from any little flirtation,
even though the Emperor would, I know, be extremely
angry if it came to his ears ? "
" But it w^on't. I'm sure it won't, Uncle Cohn,
through you. You are such a funny old dear."
" Well," I said reluctantly, " for my own part I would
much prefer that you invited your gentleman friend to
the house, where Miss West could at least play propriet3^
But onh' now and then — for recollect one fact always,
that you and he can never marry, however fond you may
be of each other. It is that one single fact which causes
Her hard gaze was fixed upon the broad expanse
of blue sea before her. I saw how grave she had
THE PRICE OF POWER 151
suddenly become, and that in her great dark eyes stood
Her chest heaved slowly and fell. She was filled with
emotion which she bravely repressed.
" Yes," she managed to murmur in a low whisper.
" It is too cruel. Because "
" Because what ? " I asked, in a sympathetic voice,
bending towards her.
" Ah, don't ask me. Uncle Colin 1 " she said bitterly,
her welling eyes still fixed blankly upon the sea. " It
is cruel because — because I love Dick," she whispered
in open confession.
" My httle friend," I said, " I s\Tnpathize with you
very deeply. It is, I admit, a very bitter truth which
I have been compelled to point out. For that very
reason I have been so much against your friendship
with young men. Drury is in ignorance of your true
identity. He beheves you to be plain Miss Gottorp.
But when I tell him the truth "
"Ah, no!'' she cried. "You will not tell him —
you won't — will you ? Promise me," she urged. " I
must, I know, one day find a way of breaking the bond
of love which exists between us. WTien — when — that —
time — comes — then we must part. But he must never
know that I have deceived him — he must never know
that the reason we cannot be more than mere friends
is on account of my Imperial birth. No," she added
bitterly, " even though I love Dick so dearly and he
loves me devotedly, I shall be compelled to do something
purposely in order that his love for me may die." Then,
sighing deeply, my dainty httle companion implored:
" You wlU therefore promise me. Uncle Colin, that you
win never — never, under any circumstances, breathe a
word to him of who I reaUy am ? "
I took her trembling hand for a second and gave her
152 THE PRICE OF POWER
I confess I felt the deepest sympathy for her, and
told her so frankly and openly as I sat there taking
leave of her, for that veiy evening I intended to leave
Brighton and catch the night mail from Charing Cross
direct for Moscow.
She said but little, but when we had returned to
Brunswick Square and I stood with her at the window
of the big drawing-room, she was unable to control
her emotions further and burst into a flood of bitter
In tenderness I placed my hand upon her shoulder,
endeavouring to console her. Alas ! I fear my words
were stilted and very unconvincing. What "could I
say, v*^hen all the world over royal birth is a bar to love
and happiness, and marriages in Imperial and Royal
circles are, for the most part, loveless, unholy unions.
The Grand Duchess or the royal Princess loves just as
ardently and devotedly as does the free and flirting
work-girl or the tea-and-tennis girl of the middle classes.
Alas ! however, the heart of the Highness is not her own,
but at the disposal of the family council, which discusses
her marriage as a purely business proposition, and sells
her, too frequently, to the highest bidder.
The poor girl, crushed by the hopeless bitterness
of the situation, declared with a sob :
"To be born in the purple, as the outside world calls
it, is, alas ! to be born to unhappiness."
I remained there a full half -hour, until she grew calm
again. Never in all the years I had known her — ever
since she was a girl — had I seen her give way to such a
paroxysm of despair. Usually she was so bright,
buoyant and light-hearted. But that afternoon she
had utterly broken down and been overcome by blank
" You are young, Natalia," I said, with deep sym--
pathy. " Enjoy your life to-day, and do not endeavour
THE PRICE OF POWER 153
to- meet the troubles of the future. As long as you re-
main here and are known as Miss Gottorp, so long may
your friendship with young Drury be maintained. Live
for the present — do not anticipate the future."
I said this because I knew^ that Time is the greatest
healer of broken hearts.
But she only shook her head very sadly, without
The black marble clock on the mantelshelf chimed
six, and I recollected that Hart wig had wired that he
would meet me at the " Metropole " at that hour. My
train was due to leave for London at seven. I had al-
ready bidden Miss West adieu. So I took Natalia's
hand, and pressing it warmly, wished her farewell,
promising to regularly report by telegraph m}^ progress
across Siberia, as far as possible.
She struggled to her feet wath an effort, and looking
full into my face said in a voice choked by emotion :
" Good-bye, Uncle Colin, I am sorry I cannot betray
Marya's secret. You are doing this in order to save two
innocent women from the horrors of a living tomb in
the Siberian snow^s — to demand that justice shall be
done. Go. And may God in His great mercy take you
under His protection."
What I replied I can scarcely tell. My heart was too
full for words. All I know is that a few moments later
I turned out of the great wide square, where the rooks
were cawing in the liigh trees, and hurried along the wide
promenade, where the red sun was setting behind me
in the sea.
Hartwig I found at the " Metropole " awaiting me.
He related how he had called at the fiat in Albemarle
Street, and, by a judicious tip to the young valet he
found there, had learnt that Mr. Richard Drury v/as the
son of old Sir Richard Drurs', knight, the great ship-
builder of Greenock, who had built a number of cruisers
154 THE PRICE OF POWER
•for the Na\^\ He was a self-made man, who commenced
life as a fitter's labourer in a ship -builder's yard up at
Craigendoran on the Clyde — a bluff, hearty man whose
generosity was well known throughout the kingdom.
" Young Richard, it seems," Hartwig went on, " after
leaving Oxford became a director of the company, and
though apparently leading a life of leisure, yet he takes
quite an active part in the direction of the London office
of the firm in Westminster."
He expressed the strongest disapproval when I. told
him of my intention to leave for Siberia and instructed
him to remain there and to take the Grand Duchess
under his protection until he received definite orders
from the Emperor.
" I certainly don't like the idea of your going to
Siberia alone, Mr. Trewinnard," he declared. " Markoff
will know the instant you start, and I fear that — well,
that something ma}' happen."
"It is just as likely to happen here in Brighton,
Hartwig, as in Russia," I replied.
" Well," he said, shrugging his shoulders, " all
I advise is that you exercise the very greatest care.
Why not take my assistant, Petrakoff ? I will give him
secret orders to join you at the frontier at Ekaterinburg
— and nobody will know. It will be best for you to
have company on that long sledge journey."
'' If I want him I w411 telegraph to you from Peters-
burg," was my reply.
" You will want him," he said, " depend upon it.
If 3'ou go alone to Siberia, Mr. Trewinnard," he added
very earnestly, " then depend upon it you will go to
your grave ! "
THE PRICE OF POWER 155
ORDERS IK CIPHER
*' And pray, Trewinnard, why are you so extremely
desirous of following this woman into exile and speaking
with her ? " inquired the Emperor in French, as I sat
with him, a week later, in a small, dismal, tapestried
room in the old Castle of Berezov, the Imperial hunting-
box on the edge of the Pinsk Marshes, in the Government
Dressed in a rough shooting-suit of drab Scotch
tweed, he sat upon the edge of the 'table smoking
a cigarette after a hard day alter wild boar.
I had driven since dawn from the wayside station
of Olevsk, three hundred miles south of Moscow, where
I had arrived tired and famished from my long night
and day journey of a week from Brighton.
On arrival in Moscow I had learnt that His Majesty
was hunting at Berezov', and a telegram prefixed by
the word " Bathildis," had at once been replied to by
a command to audience. Hence I was there, and had
placed my appeal before him.
He was much puzzled. In his eyes Madame de
Rosen was a dangerous revolutionist who had conspired
to kill him, therefore he regarded with entire disfavour
my petition to be allowed to see her. There was
annoyance written upon his strong features, and by the
expression in his eyes I saw that he was entirely averse
to granting my request.
" I am anxious, Sire, to see her upon a purely private
matter. She was a personal friend," I replied.
" So you told me some time ago, I recollect," he
remarked, twisting his cigarette between his fingers.
" But Markoff has reported that both she and her
156 THE PRICE OF POWER
daughter are highly dangerous to the security of the
State. He was speaking of them only the other day."
I bit my lip fiercely.
" Perhaps he may be misinformed," I said coldly.
" As far as I am aware — and I know both the lady and
her daughter Luba intimately — they are most loyal
subjects of Your Majesty."
" Tut," he laughed. " The evidence put before
me was that they actually financed the attempt in the
Nevski. I had a narrow escape, Trewinnard — a very
narrov/ one," he added. " And if you were in my
place how would you, I wonder, treat those scoundrels
who attempted to kill you — eh ? "
" I have no knowledge of the true facts, Sire," I
replied. " All I petition Your Majesty is that I may be
granted an Imperial permit for the post-horses, and a
personal order from yourself to see and speak with the
He shrugged his shoulders, and thrust his hands
deeply in his breeches pockets.
" You do not tell me the reason you wish to see
her," he said with a frown of displeasure.
" Upon a purely private matter," I said. " To
ask her a question concerning a very dear friend. I
beg that Your Majesty wiU not refuse me this request,"
I added, deeply in earnest.
'' It is a long journey, Trewinnard. I believe she has
been sent beyond Yakutsk," he remarked. " But,
tell me, were you a very intimate friend of this woman ?
What do you actually know of her ? "
" AH I know of her," I rephed, " is that she is suffering
a great wrong, Your Majesty. She is in possession of
certain information which closely concerns a friend.
Hence my determination to try, if possible, to amend
" What — you yourself desire to make amends— eh ? "
THE PRICE OF POWER 157
" Not exactly that, Sire," I replied. " I wish to
learn the truth concerning — well, concerning a purely
private matter. I think that Your Majesty is convinced
of my loyalty."
" Of course I am, Trewinnard," was his quick reply.
" You have rendered me many important personal
services, not the least being your kindness in looking
after the welfare of that hare-brained little flirt Tattie.
By the way, how is she ? As much a tomboy as ever,
I suppose ? " And his big, strong face relaxed into a
humorous smile at thought of the girl who, at her own
request, had been banished from Court.
" She is greatly improving," I assured him, with a
laugh. " She and Miss West are quite comfortable,
and I believe enjoying themselves immensely. Her
Highness loves England."
" And so do I," he sighed. " I only wish I could
go to London oftener. It is to be regretted that my
recent visits there have not exactly found favour with
the Council of Ministers." Then, after a long pause,
he said : " Well, I suppose I must not refuse this
request of yours, Trewinnard. But I fear you will
find your winter journey an extremely uncomfortable
one. WTien you are back, come direct to me. I would
hke to hear the result of your observations. Let me
see ? Besides the permit to use the post-horses, you
will require an order to sjieak with the prisoner, Marya
de Rosen, alone, and an order to the Governor of Tomsk,
who has the register which will show to which settlement
she has been deported."
My heart leaped within me, for at first I had feared
" As Your Majesty pleases," was my reply, and I
added my warmest thanks.
" m wTite them out now," he said ; and, turning,
he seated himself at the little escritoire in the corner
158 THE PRICE OF POWER
of the small, old-world room and commenced to scribble
those Imperial decrees which no one within the Russian
Empire would dare to disobey.
While he did so I stood gazing out of the small,
deep-set double windows across a fiat dismal landscape,
brown with the tints^ of autumn — the wide and weedy
moat which surrounded the castle, the stretch of grazing-
iand and then a belt of dense forest on the skyline —
the Imperial game preser\^es.
That silent old room, dull, faded and sombre, was just
the same as it had been when Catherine the Great
had feted her favourite Potemkin, the man who for
years ruled Russia and who fought so valiantly against
the Turks. There, in that verv^ room, the Treaty of
Jassy, wliich gave Russia the littoral between the Bug
and the Dniester, had been signed by Catherine in
1792, and again in that room the Tzar Alexander I.
had received the nevv's of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow.
At that small buhl table whereat the Emperor was
now wTiting out my permits the Tzar Nicholas had
signed the decree taking away the Polish constitution,
and, years later, he had written the final orders to his
ill-fated army lighting against the British in the Crimea.
Somewhere in the stone corridor outside could be
heard the m.easured tramp of the sentry, but that, and
the rapid scratching of the Emperor's pen, were the
only sounds which broke the quiet.
At last he rose and handed me three sheets of foolscap
bearing the Imperial arms — the orders which I sought.
I took them with thanks, but after a moment's
hesitation I ventured to add :
" I wonder if I might request of Your Majesty a
further favour ? "
" W^'eU," he asked with a smile, " what is it ? "
" That my journey to Siberia should be kept a secret
from the police ? "
THE PRICE OF POWER 159
" Eh — what ? " he asked quickly, looking at me
strangely. " You do not wish the police to know.
Why ? There is to be no attempted escape, surely ? "
" I give Your Majesty my word that Madame de
Rosen will not attempt to escape," I said. " I will,
indeed, make myself responsible for her. The fact
is that I know I have enemies among the Secret Police ;
hence I wish them to remain in entire ignorance of my
'' Enemies ! " he echoed. " Who are they ? Tell
me, and I will quickly turn them into your friends,"
he said. ^
" Alas, Sire, I do not exactly know their identity,"
was my reply.
" Very well," he replied at last, selecting another
cigarette from the big golden box upon the table, " I
will say nothing — if you so desire. But, remember,
vou have made yourself responsible for the woman."
"I willingly accept the responsibiUty," I replied.
" But, Your»Majesty, there is another matter. I would
suggest that Hartwig be detailed to remain with Her
Highness the Grand Duchess NataUa at Brighton until
my return. He is there at present, awaiting Your
At my words he rang a bell, and Calitzine, his private
secretary, appeared, bowing.
" Send a telegram at once to Hartwig. Where is
he ? " he asked, turning to me.
" At the Hotel Metropole, Brighton," I said.
" Telegraph to him in cipher that I order him to
remain with Natalia until further orders."
" Very well, Your Majesty," replied the trusted
" And another thing," exclaimed the Emperor.
" Telegraph, also in cipher, to all Governors of Siberian
provinces that Mr. Colin Trewinnard, of London, is
160 THE PRICE OF POWER
our guest during his journey across Siberia, and is to
be treated as such by all authorities."
" But pardon me, Your Majesty," I ventured to
interrupt, " would not that make it plain to those
persons in Petersburg of whom I spoke a moment ago."
" Ah ! I forgot," said the Emperor. " Write the
telegram, and send a confidential courier with it to
Tiumen, across the Siberian frontier. He will despatch
it from there, and it ^^"ill then only go over the Asiatic
"I fear, Your Ma jest}', that a courier could not
reach Omsk under six or seven days, travelling in-
cessantly," remarked the secretan^'.
" In seven daj's will be sufficient time. Both
messages are confidential."
And he dismissed Calitzine with a wave of his hand,
the secretary' backing out of the presence of his Imperial
Wlien the door had closed the taU, muscular man
before me placed his hands behind his back and slowly
paced the room, saying :
" Well, Tre\\dnnard, I must wdsh you a safe journey.
If you find yourself in any difficulty, communicate
direct with m.e. I must admit that I can't quite under-
stand the object of this rather quixotic joume\' of
yours — to see a female prisoner. I strongh- suspect
that you are in love with her — eh ? " and he srniled
" No, Sire," I rephed, " I am not. On m.y return
I hope to be able to show Your Majesty that I have
been actuated b}- motives of humanity and justice
— I hope, indeed, perhaps even to receive Your Majesty's
" Ah ! 3'-ou are too mysterious for me," he laughed.
" Are you leaving at once ? Or wiU you remain here,
in the castle, until to-morrow ? "
THE PRICE OF POWER IGI
" I am greatly honoured and appreciate Your
Majesty's hospitality," I said. " But I have horses
ready, and I am driving back to the railway at Olevsk
" Very well, then/' he said with a smile. " Good-
bye, and be back again in Petersburg as soon as ever
And he stretched forth his big sinewy hand and
gave me such a hearty grip that I was compelled to
I v/as backing towards the door, when it opened and
the chamberlain Polivanoff, standing upon the threshold,
" General Markoff begs audience of Your Majesty."
" Ah ! Let him come in," the Emperor replied,
The next moment I found myself face to face with
the man whom I knew to be Nataha's worst enemy
and mine — that bloated, grey-faced man in military
uniform, through whose instrumentality no fewer than
ten thousand persons were annually being exiled to
the Siberian wastes.
We met just beyond the threshold.
" Ah ! my dear M'sieur Trewinnard ! " he cried,
raising his grey brows in evident surprise at meeting
me there. " I thought you were in England. And
how is your interesting young charge ? "
" She is very well, I beUeve," was my cold reply.
I passed on, while he, crossing the threshold into
the Imperial presence, bowed low, cringing before the
monarch whom he daily terrorized, and yet who believed
him to be the guardian of the dynasty.
" Ah ! I am so glad you have come, Markoff ! "
I heard the Emperor exclaim as he entered. " I have
several pressing matters to discuss with you."
I passed the two sentries, who presented arms,
162 THE PRICE OF POWER
and followed Colonel Polivanoff along the corridor,
full of gravest apprehension.
Ill fortune had dogged m}^ footsteps. Markoff had
seen me there. He would naturally inquire of the
Emperor the reason of my audience.
His Majesty might tell him.
If so, what then ?
THE LAND OF NO RETURN *
The day had been grey and dispiriting, the open wind-
swept landscape a great hmitless expanse of newly-
fallen snow of dazzhng whiteness — the same cheerless
wintry tundra over which I had been travelling by sledge
for the past four wearv* weeks to that everlasting jingle
My companion, the police-agent Petrakoff, a smart,
alert young man, wrapped to the tip of his nose in
reindeer furs, was asleep by my side ; and I, too, had
been dozing, worn out b}' that fifteen hundred miles of
road since lea\Txig the railway at Ekaterinburg.
Suddenly I was awakened by Vasilli, our yamshick,
a burl3'^ bearded, unkempt rufhan in shabb}^ furs, who,
pointing with his whip to the grey far-off horizon,
" Tomsk ! Tomsk ! Look, Excellency ! "
Straining my tired eyes, I discerned upon the far
skyline a quantity of low, snow-covered, wood-built
houses, from which rose the pointed cupolas of several
Yonder was the enxi of the first stage of my long
journey. So I awoke Petrakoff, and for the next
half-hour we sat with eyes fixed eagerly upon our
goal, where we hoped to revel in the luxury of a hotel
THE PRICE OF POWER 163
after a month of those filthy stancias or povarnias,
the vermin-infested rests for travellers on the Great
Post Road of Siberia.
The first sod of the great Trans-Siberian railway
had already been cut by the Tzarevitch at Tchelia-
byisk, but no portion of the line was at that time
complete. Therefore all traffic across Asia, both
travellers and merchandise, including the tea caravans
from China, passed along that great highway, the
longest in the world.
Six weeks had elapsed since I had left the Emperor's
presence, and I had accomplished by rail and road a
distance of two thousand four hundred miles.
Since I had left the railwa^^ at Ekaterinburg I had
only rested for a single night on two occasions, at
Tinmen and at Tobolsk.
At the former place I made my first acquaintance
^'ith the inhuman exile system, for moored in the
river Obi I saw several of those enormous floating
gaols, in which the victims of Russia's true oppressor
were transported en route to the penal settlements
of the Far East — great double-decked barges, three
hundred feet long, with a lower hold below the main
deck. Along two-thirds of the barge's length ran an
iron cage, reaching from the lower to the upper deck-
cover, and having the appearance of a great two-storied
tiger's cage. Eight of them were moored alongside
the landing-stage. Five of them were crowded by
wretched prisoners, each barge containing from four
to five hundred persons of both sexes and the Cossack
guards — a terrible sight indeed.
Provided as I was with an Imperial permit, and a
doubly-stamped road-passport that directed all keepers
of post-stations to provide me with the mail horses,
and give me the right of way on the Post Road, I haci
set forth again after a day's rest towards Tobolsk.
161 THE PRICE OF POWER
The first snow had fallen on the third da}^ after
leaving Tinmen, and the country, covered by its white
mantle, presented always a dreary aspect, rendered
drearier and more dispiriting by the gangs of wretched
exiles which we constant!}' overtook.
Men, women, and children in companies from a
hundred to three hundred, having left the barges, were
marching forvv^ard to that far-off bourne whence none
would ever return. They, indeed, presented a woeful
spectacle, m.ostly of thei:riminal classes, all their heads
being half, or clean-shaven. The majority of the men
were in chains, and man}- were linked together. Not a
few of the women marched among the men as prisoners,
while the rest trudged along into voluntar>^ exile, holding
the hands of their husbands, brothers, lovers or children.
Some of the sick, aged and youn^ were in springless
carts, but all the others toiled onward through the snow
hke droves of cattle, bent to the icy blast, a grey-clad,
silent crowd, guarded by a dozen Cossacks, with an
officer taking his ease in a tarantass in the rear.
Once we met a family of Jews — husband, wife and
two children — in a tarantass, with a Cossack with
bayonet fixed alongside. We stopped to change horses
with them, as we were then midway between post-
stations. The man, a bright, intelhgent, middle-aged
fellow, addressed us in French, and said he had been a
wealthy fur merchant in Nijni Novgorod, but was
exiled to the Yenisei country simply because he was a
Jew. His eyes w^ere clouded with regret at the bitter
consciousness of his captivity. Four thousand of his
townsmen had, he said, emigrated to England and
America, and then pointing to his pretty, dehcate wife
and two chubby children, the tears rolled down his
cheeks, as he faltered out : " Siberie ! " Poor fellow !
That word had all the import of a hell to many — many
more than him.
THE PRICE OF POWER 165
The distance between relays on the Great Post Road
was, we found, from sixteen to thirty versts, and the
speed of fresh horses about ten versts an hour.
Vasilh, the ugly bearded yamshick' who had lost one
eye, we had engaged in Tinmen, and he had contracted
to drive me during the whole of my journey. He was
a sullen fellow, v/ho said little, but on finding that I
was travelling with an Imperial permit, his chief delight
was to hustle up the master of each post-station and
threaten to report to the Governor of the province if I,
the Excellency, were kept waiting for a single instant.
Usually, changing operations at the stations occupied
anything from forty minutes to two hours, according
to the temper or trickishness of the post-horse keeper
and his grooms, for the\' were about the meanest set
of knaves and rogues on the face of Asia. Yet sight of
my permit caused them all to tremble and cringe and
hustle, and I certainly could not complain of any
We had set out in a tarantass from Tinmen — the
town from which the Imperial courier had despatched
the order to the various Governors — but as soon as the
snow came I. purchased a big sledge, and in this we
managed to travel with far greater comfort over the
snow than by cart over the deeply rutted road.
None can know the terrible monotony of Siberian
travel save those who have endured it.
Nowadays one can cover Siberia from the frontier
to far Vladivostock in fifteen days in a luxurious draw-
ing-room car, \\ith restaurant and sleeping-berth, a
bath-room and a piano, the line running for the most
part near the Old Post Road. But leave the railway
and strike north or south, and the same terrible grey-
ness and monotony will grip your senses and depress
you as perhaps no other journey in the world can do.
It was dusk when at last we sped, our runners hissing
166 THE PRICE OF POWER
over the frozen snow, into the wood-built town of
Tomsk, and ahghted at the Hotel Million, a dismal
place with corridors long and dark, and bedroom doors
fastened by big iron padlocks and hasps ! The full-
bearded proprietor wandered along with an enormous
bunch of keys, opening the doors and exhibiting his
uninviting apartments ; and at first I actually believed
that Vasilli had mistaken my order and driven to
a Siberian prison instead of conducting me to a
Upstairs, however, the rooms were much better. But
there were no washing arrangements whatever, or
mattresses or bedding ; for every traveller in Siberia is
expected to carry his own pillows and bedclothes.
Here, how^ever, we put up and ate our evening meal in
true Siberian style — a single tough beefsteak — simply
that and nothing more.
Afterwards I drove through the snowy, unlighted
streets to the Governor's palace, a long, log-built place,
and on giving my name to the Cossack sentry at the
door he at once saluted. Apparent^ he had been warned
of my coming. So had the servants, for with much
bowing and grave ceremony I was shown along a corridor
lit by petroleum lamps to a small reception-room at
the farther end.
The furniture was of the cheap, gaudy character
which in England would speak mutely of the hire-
system. But it had, no doubt, come from Petersburg
at enormous cost of transit, and was perhaps the best
and miost luxurious furniture — it was covered with red
embossed velvet — in all Siberia.
Scarcely was I afforded time to look round the close,
over-heated place with its treble windows, when
General Tschemaieff, a rather short, white-haired,
pleasant-featured man in a green uniform, with the
Cross of St. Anne at his throat, entered, greeting me
THE PRICE OF POWER 167
warmly and expressing a hope that I had had a pleasant
" I received word of your coming, Mr. Trewinnard,
some weeks ago," His Excellency said rather pompously.
"I am commanded to treat you as a guest of my
Imperial Master. Therefore you will, I hope, be my
guest here in the palace."
I told him that I already had quarters at the Hotel
Milhon, whereupon he laughed, saying :
" I fear that you will find it very rough and uncouth
after hotels in Petersburg or in 3^our own London."
I rephed that as a constant traveller, and one who
had knocked about in all corners of the world, I was
used to roughing it. Then, after he had offered me a
cigarette, and a lean manservant, who, I afterwards
learned, was an ex-convict, had brought us each a glass
of champagne, I explained to him the object of my visit.
" Madame Mary a de Rosen and her daughter Luba
de Rosen, pohticals," repeated His Excellency, as though
speaking to himself. " Of course, sir, as you know,
all prisoners, both criminal or poHtical, pass through
the for\varding-prison here. It is myself who decides
to which settlement they shall be sent. But — well,
there are so many that the Chief of the Police puts the
lists before me and I sign them away to Nerchinsk, to
Yakutsk, to Sredne Kolimsk, to Verkhoiansk, to Udinsk,
or vvherever it may be. Their names, I fear, I never
notice. I have sent some politicals recently up to
Parotovsk, fifty versts north of Yakutsk. The two
prisoners msLy have been among them."
" Here, I suppose, they lose their identity, do they
not ? " I asked, looking at the white-headed official
who governed that great Asiatic province. He was
sixty-five, he had told me, and had served twenty-
seven years in Siberia.
" Yes. Only across the road in the archives of the
168 THE PRICE OF POWER
fon^^arding-prison are their names kept. W'Tien they
leave Tomsk they are known in future — until their
death, indeed — only by a registered number."
Then, rising, the white-headed Governor rang a bell,
and on his secretary, a young Cossack captain, entering,
he gave him certain instructions to go across to the
prison and obtain the registers of prisoners during the
Afterwards, he stretched himself out in his long chair,
smoking and asking me questions concerning myself
and the object of my journey.
As soon as he learned that I was a British diplomat
and personal friend of His Majesty, his manner became
much more cordial, and he declared himself ready to
do everything in his power to bring my mission to a
Presently the secretary returned, carrying two large
registers and accompanied by a tall, dark-bearded man
in uniform and wearing a decoration, who I learned
was the governor of the prison.
He saluted His Excellency on entering the room, and
said in Russian :
" Your Excellenc}' is, I believe, inquiring regarding
the prisoner Marya de Rosen, widow, of Petersburg,
deported by administrative order ? "
" Yes," said the General. " Wliere has she been sent,
and what is her number ? "
" She was the woman about whom we received
special instructions from the Ministry of Police in
Petersburg, Your Excellency will remember," replied
the prison governor.
" Special instructions ! " I echoed, interrupting.
" WTiat were they ? "
But His Excellency, after a moment's reflection, said :
" Ah ! I now remember ! Of course. There was
a note upon the papers in General Markoff's own
THE PRICE OF POWER 1G9
handwriting to the effect that she was a dangerous
" Yes. She was one of those whom your Excel-
lency sent to Parotovsk," remarked the prison governor.
" To Parotovsk ! " I echoed. " That is beyond
Yakutsk — two thousand five hundred miles from here
— far in the north, and one of the most dreaded of all
the settlements ! "
" All penal settlements are dreaded, I fear," re-
marked His Excellency, blowing the cigarette-smoke
from his hps. Then, turning to the prison governor,
he inquired under what number the prisoner was
On referring to one of the books the officer declared
Madame to be now known as " Number 14956 " and
her daughter as " Number 14957."
I took a note of the numbers, protesting to His
" But to compel delicate ladies to walk that great
distance in the winter is surel}^ a sentence of death ! "
" x\nd if the politicals die, the State has fewer responsi-
bihties," he remarked. " As you see, we have received
notification from Petersburg that your lady friend was a
dangerous person. Now, of dangerous persons we take
\'ery special care." Then, turning to the prison governor,
he asked : " How did they go ? "
" By taranta'ss. Excellency. The}^ were in too weak
a state to walk, especially the elder prisoner. I doubt,
indeed, if ever they will reach Parotovsk."
" And if they don't it will perhaps be the better
for both of them," His Excellency remarked with a
sigh, rising and casting his cigarette-end into the pan
of the round iron stove. He was a stiff, unbending
official and ruled the province with a ruthless hand,
but at h?art he often evinced sympathy with the female
170 THE PRICE OF POWER
" Were they very ill ? " I inquired quickly of the
" They were ver^^ exhausted and complained to me
of ill-treatment by their guards," he answered. " But
if we investigated every complaint we should have more
than sufficient to do."
" How long ago did they leave here ? "
" About two months," was the man's reply. "The
elder prisoner implored to be sent to the Trans-Baikal,
where the climate is not so rigorous as in the north, and
this would probably have been done had it not been
for the special memorandum of His Excellency General
" Then he suggested her being sent to the Yakutsk
settlement — in fact, to her death — eh ? " I asked.
. His Excellency replied :
" That seems so. The prisoners have already been
on their way two months, at first by tarantass and
now, no doubt, by sled. There were fifteen others,
nine men and six women^-all dangerous politicals,
I see," he added, glancing at the order which he
had signed and was now produced by the prison
governor. "If it is your intention to travel and
overtake them, then I fear your journey will be
" Why ? " I asked.
" Because I expect that long before you reach them
their dead bodies will have been left upon the road,"
replied His Excellency. " Politicals who die here in
Siberia, and especially those marked as dangerous, are
not mourned, I assure you."
"There was, if I remember aright, a telegram to
Your Excelleficy from General Markoff regarding
prisoners of that name only three days ago," remarked
the Cossack captain. " It inquired whether you knew
if Madame de Rosen were still alive."
THE PRICE OF POWER 171
" Ah, yes, I remember. And I replied that I had no
knowledge," the General said.
I was silent. My heart stood still.
By the fact of that telegraphic inquiry I knew that
^larkoff was, as I feared, aware of my journey. He
would most certainly prevent my overtaking her — or,
if not, he would, no doubt, contrive to seal her
lips by death ere I could reach her.
HOT HASTE ACROSS ASIA
I RESOLVED to push forward in all haste and at all
hazards. I lost no time.
With only forty-eight hours' stay at the wretched
Hotel Million in Tomsk we went forth again, our faces
set ever eastward on that wide, straight road which
first runs direct for a hundred miles to Marinsk, a poor,
log-built place with a dirty verminous post-station and
an old post-master who, when I presented my Imperial
permit, sank upon his knees before me. Fortunately
the mail was tw^o days behind me, hence, at every
stancia I was able to obtain the best horses, though
it seemed part of Vasilli's creed to curse and grumble at
With the snow falling continuously our journey was
not so ra|)id as it had been to Tomsk. Winter had
now set in with a vengeance, although it still wanted a
few days to the English Christmas. Yet the journey
from Marinsk to Krasnoyarsk, two hundred miles, was
one of wondrous beauty. It was cold, horribly cold.
Often I sat beside the sleepy Petrakofi cramped and
shivering, even in my furs.
But those deep, dark woods, with their little glimpses
of blue sk-y ; the dashing and jingling along under the
172 THE PRICE OF POWER
low-reaching arms of the evergreen trees, league after
league of the forest bowed down to the very earth and
in places prostrated with its white weight of snow, the
weird ride over hill and mountain, skirting ravine and
precipice, the breaks along and across the numerous
watercourses, over rude bridges or along deep gullies
where rough wooden guards protect the sleds from
disaster — with this quick succession of scener}', wild
and strange, was I kept constantly awake and charmed.
At the stancias we met the travelling merchants
from the Far East and from China with their long train
of goods hauled in sleds or packed on the backs of
horses. Five pood, we found, was the regulation load,
and all packages were put up in drums bound with
raw hide and so strapped that they could easily be
transported by the pack-horse, which carried half a
load on either side of a saddle-tree prepared for the
But those stancias were filthy, overcrowded, evil-
smelling places, wherein one laid in one's sleeping-bags
upcn a bench amid a crowd of unwashed, vodka-drink-
ing humanity in damp, noxious sheep-skins.
Fortunately the moon was at that moment nearly
full, and often at night I went forth alone to smoke,
sometimes with the snowy plain stretched on every
hand about me, and at others with gigantic peaks
lifting their hoar\7 heads far into the blue night vault
of heaven ; silent, frigid, white. Ah ! what grandeur !
I rejoiced that it was night, when I could smoke and
ponder. So cold and still was it that those snowy
summits, bathed in the silver radiance of the Siberian
moon, filled me with awe such as I had never before
Yes, those were wonderful nights which will live
for ever in my memory — nights when my thoughts
wandered far away to the gay promenade at Kove,
THE PRICE OF POWER 173
wondering how fared the Httle madcap, and whether
her peril were real or only imaginary.
Ever obsessed by the knowledge that Markoft was
aware of my journey, and would endeavour to prevent
its successful issue, I existed in constant anxiety and
dread lest some prearranged disaster might befall
Madame de Rosen ere I could reach her.
Siberia is, alas ! the country where, as the exiles say :
" God is nigh, and the Tzar is far away."
Thus, after three weeks more of hard travelling, I
passed through the big, straggling, snow-covered town
of Krasnoyarsk, and arrived at the wretchedly dirty
stancia of Tulunovsk, where the road to Yakutsk —
distant nearly two thousand miles — branches to the
north from the Great Post Road, up the desolate valley
of the Lena.
We arrived in Tulunovsk in the afternoon, and,
having sent a telegram to Her Highness from Kras-
noyarsk, eight days before, I was delighted to receive a
charming little message assuring me that she was quite
well and wishing me a continuance of good fortune on
Since I had left Tomsk no traveller had overtaken
me. At Tulunovsk we found a party of politicals,
about sixty men and women, in the roughly-con-
structed prison rest-house, being permitted a few days'
respite upon their long and wear}' march.
Already they had been sLx months on the road, and
were in a terrible condition, almost in rags, and most
of them so weak that death would no doubt have been
And these poor creatures were nearly all of them
victims of the bogus plots of His Excellency General
To the Cossack captain in charge of the convoy I
made m3'self known, and after taking tea with him I
174 THE PRICE OF POWER
was permitted to go among the party and chat with
One tall, thin-faced man, whose hair was prema-
turely grey, begged me to send a message back to his
.wife in Tver. He spoke French well, and told me his
name was Epatchieff, and that he had been a doctor
in practice in the town of Tver, between Moscow and
" I am entirely ignorant of the reason I was arrested,
m'sieur," he declared, hitching his ragged coat about
him. " I have not committed any crime, or even be-
longed to any secret society. Perhaps the only offence
was my marr\dng the woman I loved. Who knows ? "
and the sad-eyed man, whose life held more of sorrow
in it than most men, went on to say :
" I had been attending the little daughter of the
local chief of the police for a week, but she had re-
covered so far that I did not consider a further visit
was necessary. One morning, six months ago, I
was surprised, to receive a visit from the police
officer's Cossack, who demanded my presence at
once at the house of his master, as the child had been
seized with another attack. I told him I would go
after breakfast as the matter was serious. But the
Cossack insisted that I should go at once, so I agreed
and went forth. Outside, the Cossack told me that
I must first go to the poHce ofhce, and, of course, I
went wonderingly, never dreaming for a moment
that anything was wrong. So I was ushered into
the office, where the chief of poHce told me that I
was a prisoner. ' A body of exiles are ready to start
for Siberia,' said the heartless brute, ' and you will
go with them.' I laughed — it was a good joke, but
the chief of police assured me that it was a solemn fact.
I was completely dumbfounded. I begged for a delay
in my transportation. Why was I deprived of my
THE PRICE OF POWER 175
liberty' Who was my accuser ? What was the accusa-
t\on ' 'But I got no answer save ' administrative order.
•■I begged to be allowed to revisit my house under
guard, to procure necessary articles of clothmg-to say
Well to my young wife. But the scoundrel denied
me everything. I waited in anguish, but they placed
Z tn sTlitar^ confinement to await the departure of
Se convoy, and in six hours I was on my way here-to
^'Sf^ctufsfrhVp'oor feUow was half crazed What
would become of his young wife-what would she thmk
of him' A thousand thoughts and suspicions racked
his mind, and he had already lived through an age of
torture, as his whitening head plamly showed. _
Kt my suggestion he wrote a letter to his wite in-
fonning her of his fate, and using my authority as guest
of His Imperial Majesty I took it, and, m due course,
nosted it back to Russia.
P Not until three years after^vards did I learn the tragic
sequel. The poor young lady received my letter, and
S quickly as she could set out to jom him m his exJe.
Wi?h womanly wit she managed to apprise h,m of her
coming and a light broke m upon his grief. He had
be^sent to Irkutsk, and daily, hourly he looked and
longed "or her. Yet just as he knew she must arrive,
he was suddenly sent far away to the most northerly
Arctic settlement of Sredne Kolimsk.
The poor young lady, fiUed with sweet s>-mpatny and
expectation, hoping to find him in Irkutsk, arrived
there a fortnight to'o late. I=«=^g-^ '^^^.^^"^te'worsi
having traveUed over four thousand miles of the worst
countfy on the face of the world, she learned the crue
news. Still three thousand miles distant ! But =he set
out to find him. Alas ! however, it was too much for
her She lost her reason, raved for a little while under
restraint and died at the roadside.
176 THE PRICE OF POWER
Is it any wonder that there were in Russia real revo-
lutionists, revolting not against their Tzar, but against
the inhuman system of the camarilla ?
Petrakoff and I spent a sleepless night in that rat-
eaten post-house where the food was bad, and our beds
consisted only of a wooden bench. We had as com-
panions half a dozen drivers, who ha.d come with a
big tea-caravan from China, ragged, unwashed, uncouth
fellows in evil-smelling furs.
Indeed the air was so thick and intolerable that at
two o'clock in the morning I took my sleeping-bag out-
side and lay in the sled, in preference to staying in that
vermin -infested hut.
Next morning, the twenty-second of January, I
signed the post-master's book as soon as it grew light,
and with three fresh horses approved of by Vasilli, we
were away, leaving the Great Post Road and striking
north along the Lena.
From that moment we entered, an uninhabited
country, the snowy dreariness of which was indescrib-
able, and as day succeeded day and we pushed further
north the climate became more rigorous, until it was
no unusual thing to have great icicles hanging from one's
One day, a week after leaving Tulunovsk, we passed
through an entirely deserted village of low-built huts.
I asked Vasilli the reason that no one lived there.
"This is a bad place, Excellency," was the fellow's
reply. " All the people died of small-pox six months
And so we went on and on, and ever on vard. Some-
times we would travel the whole twenty-four hours
rather than rest in those horrible post-houses, and on
such jou ne3^s we often covered one hundred and twenty
to one hundred and fort}^ versts, changing horses every
twenty to thirty versts.
THE PRICE OF POWER 177
We covered seven hundred and fifty miles to Dubrovsk
in sixteen days, and here, at the post-house, we met a
party of Cossacks coming south after taking a convoy
of prisoners to Oiekminsk — half-wa}'- between Dubrovsk
and Yakutsk — and handing them over to the guard
sent south to meet them.
While taking our evening tea I chatted with the
Cossack captain, a big, muscular giant in knee-boots
who sat with his legs outstretched on the dirty floor,
leaning his back against the high brick stove.
I was making inquiries regarding the prisoners he had
recently brought up, whereupon he said :
" They were a batch of politicals from Tomsk. Poor
devils, they've been sent to Parotovsk — and there's
small-pox there. I suppose General Tschemaieff has
sent them there on purpose that they shall become
infected and die. Pohticals are often sent into an in-
" To Parotovsk ! " I gasped, for it suddenly occured '
to me that the woman of whom I was in search might
be of that party !
And then I breathlessly inquired if Madame de Rosen,
Political No. 14956, had been with them.
" She and her daughter were ill, and were allowed a
sled," I added.
" There were two ladies, Excellency, mother and
daughter. One was about forty, and the other about
eighteen. They came from Petersburg, and were, I
believe, well connected and moved in the best society."
" You do not know their names ? " I asked
" Unfortunately, no," was his reply. " Only the
numbers. I believe the lady's number was that which
3'ou mentioned. She was registered, however, as a
" No doubt the same I " I cried. " How is she ? "
178 THE PRICE OF POWER
" When they left Olekminsk she was very weak and
ill," he replied. '" Indeed, I recollect remarking to my
lieutenant that I feared she would never reach Yakutsk."
" How far are they ahead of us ? " I inquired eagerly.
The bearded man reflected for some minutes, making
mental calculations. " They left Olekminsk a fort-
night ago, therefore by this they should be nearing
" And how long will it take me to reach Yakutsk ? "
He again made a calculation and at last replied :
" By travelling hard, Excellency, you should reach
Yakutsk, I think, in twenty-five to twenty-seven days.
It would be impossible before, I fear, owing to the heavy
snow-drifts and the bad state of the roads."
" Twenty-seven da3^s ! " I echoed. " And before I
can reach there the ladies will aJready be inmates of
that infected settlement of Parotovsk — ^the place to
which they have been sent to sicken and die ! "
" She was marked as ' dangerous,' Excellency. She
would therefore be sent north at once, without a doubt.
Persons marked as ' dangerous ' are never permitted
to remain in Yakutsk."
Could I reach her in time ? Could I save her ?
IN THE NIGHT
From that day and through twenty- two other dark,
weary days of the black frosts of mid-winter, We tra-
velled onward — ever onward. Sometimes we crossed
the limitless snow-covered tundra, sometimes we went
down into the deep valley of the frozen Lena river,
changing horses every thirty versts and signing the
post-horse keeper's greasy road-book.
THE PRICE OF POWER 179
At every stage I produced my Imperial permit, and at
almost every station the ignorant peasant who kept it
fell upon his knees in deep obeisance to the guest of the
We were now, however, off the main road, for this
highway to the far-off Arctic settlements, used almost
solely by the convict convoys, ran for a thousand miles
through a practically uninhabited country, the only
sign of civihzation being the never-ending telegraph-
line which we followed, and the lonely post-stations
half-buried in the snow.
Ah ! those long, anxious days of icy blasts and whirl-
ing snow blizzards. My companion and I, wrapped to our
eyes in furs, sat side by side often dozing for hours, our
ears tired of that irritating jingle of the sled-bells, our
limbs cramped and benumbed, and often ravenously
hungry, for the rough fare at the post-house was very
For six dark days we met not a single soul upon the
road, save a party of Cossacks coming south. But from
them I could obtain no news of the last batch of " politi-
cals " who had travelled north, and whom we were
following in such hot haste.
Again I telegraphed to Hart wig in Brighton, telling
him of my whereabouts, and obtaining a reply from him
that Her Highness was still well and sent me her best
That in itself was reassuring.
Hard travel and. bad food told, I think, upon both of
us. Petrakoff dearly wished himself back in his beloved
Petersburg again. Yet our one-eyed half-Tartar driver
seemed quite unconscious of either cold or fatigue. The
strain of driving so continuously — sometimes for twenty
hours out of the twenty-four — must have been terrible.
But he was ever imperious in his dealings at post-
stations, ever loud in his commands to the cringing
180 THE PRICE OF POWER
owners of those log-built huts to bring out their best
trio of horses, ever yelhng to the fur-clad grooms not
to keep His Excellency waiting on pain of terrible
Thus through those short, dark winter days, and
often through the long, steely nights, ever following
those countless telegraph-poles, we went on — ever on-
ward — until we found ourselves in a small wretched
little place of log-built houses called Olekminsk. Upon
my travelling map, as indeed upon ever^^ map of Siberia,
it is represented in capitals as an important place. So
I expected to find at least a town — perhaps even a hotel.
Instead, I discovered it to be a mere wTetched hamlet,
with a post-house, and -a wood-built prison for the
reception of " poHticals."
We arrived at midnight. In the common room of
the post-house, around which earth and snow had been
banked to keep out the cold, was a high brick stove,
and around the walls benches whereon a dozen way-
farers like ourselves were wrapped in their evil-smelling
furs, and sleeping. The odour as I entered the place
was foetid ; the dirt indescribable. One shagg}- peasant,
in heavy top-boots and fur coat, had imbibed too much
vodka, and had become hilarious, whereat one of the
sleepers, suddenly awakened, threw a top-boot at him
across the room, narrowl}' missing my head.
The post-house keeper, as soon as he saw my permit,
sent a man to the local chief of poHce, a stout, middle-
aged man, who appeared on the scene in his hastily-
donned uniform and who invited me to his house close
by. There I questioned him regarding the political
prisoners, " Numbers 14956 and 14957.''
Ha\dng read my permits — at which he was visibly
impressed when he saw the signature of the Emperor
himself — he hastened to obtain his register. Presently
he said :
THE PRICE OF POWER 181
" The two ladies you mention have passed through
this prison, Excellency. I see a note that both are
dangerous ' poHticals/ and that the elder lady was
rather weak. Judging from the time when they left,
they are, I should say, already in Yakutsk — or even
" From what is she suffering ? " I asked eagerlj-.
" Ah ! Excellency, I cannot tell that," was his reply.
"All I know is that the captain of Cossacks who came
down from Yakutsk to meet the convoy considered
that being a dangerous political, she was sufticiently
well to walk'with the others. So she has gone on foot
the remainder of the journey. She arrived here in a
" On foot ! " I echoed. " But she is ill — dpng, I was
The chief of police shrugged his shoulders and said
with a sigh :
" I fear. Excellency, that the lady was somewhat
unfortunate. That particular captain is not a very
humane person — particularly where a dangerous
prisoner is concerned."
" Then to be marked as ' dangerous ' means that the
prisoner is to },be treated with brutahty — eh ? " I
cried. " Is that Russian justice ? "
" We do not administer justice here in Siberia, Ex-
cellency," was the man's quiet reply. " They do that
" But surely it is a scandal to put a sick v.oman on
the road and compel her to walk four hundred miles in
this weather," I cried angrily.
" Alas ! That is not my affair," replied the man.
" I am merely chief of police of this district and governor
of the etape. The captain o^^ Cossacks " has entire
charge of the prisoners on their joumey.";-^-
What he had told me maddened nie. In^all that I
182 THE PRICE OF POWER
heard I could plainly detect the sinister hand of General
Indeed; when I carefully questioned, this official, I
felt convinced that the captain in question had received
instructions direct from Petersburg regarding Madame
de Rosen. The chief of police admitted to me that to
the papers concerning the prisoners there had been at-
tached a special memorandum from Petersburg con-
cerning Madame and her daughter.
I smoked a cigarette with him and drank a cup of tea
— China tea served with lemon. Then I was shown to
a rather poorly-furnished but clean bedroom on the
ground-floor, where I turned in.
But no sleep came to my eyes. Such hard travelling
through all those weeks had shattered my nerves.
While the bright northern moon streamed in through
the uncurtained window, I lay on my back, pondering.
I reflected upon aU the past, the terrible fate of Madame
and her daughter, the strange secret she evidently held,
and the peril of the Emperor himself, so helpless in the
hands of that circle of unscrupulous sycophants, and,
further, of my little madcap friend, so prone to flirtation,
the irrepressible Grand Duchess Natalia.
I reviewed all the exciting events of those many
months which had elapsed since the last Court ball of
the season at Petersburg — events which I have at-
tempted to set down in the foregoing pages — and I was
held in fear that my long journey might be in vain —
that ere I could catch up with the poor wretched woman
who, though ill, had been compelled to perform that
last and most arduous stage of the journey through the
snow, she would, alas ! be no longer alive. The ven-
geance of her enemy Markoff would have fallen upon
A sense of indescribable oppression, combined with
the hot closeness of the room, stifled me. For hours I
THE PRICE OF POWER 183
lay awake, the moonlight falling full upon my bed. At
last, however, I must have dropped oft' to sleep, fagged
out after twenty hours of those jingling bells and hissing
of the sled-runners over the frozen snow.
A sense of coldness awakened me, and on opening
my eyes I saw, to my surprise, though the room was
practically in darkness with only the reflected light of
the snow, that the small treble window stood open. It
had certainly been tightly closed when I had entered
I raised my eyes to pe^ into the darkness, for the
atmosphere, which when I had gone to sleep was stifling
on account of the iron stove, was now at zero. Suddenly
I caught sight of a dark figure moving noiselessly near
where I lay. A thief had entered by the wdndow ! He
seemed to be searching the pockets of my coat which
I had flung carelessly upon a chair. Surely he was a
daring thief to thus enter the house of the chief of
police ! But in Siberia there are many escaped con-
victs roaming about the woods. They are called
*' cuckoos," on account of their increase in the spring
and their return to the prisons when starved out in
A " cuckoo " is always a criminal and always des-
perate. He must have money and food, and he dare
not go near a village, as there is a price on his head.
Therefore, he will not hesitate to murder a lonely
traveller if by so doing he thinks he can secure a pass-
port which will permit him to leave Siberia and re-enter
European Russia, back to freedom. Some Siberian
roads are in summer infested with such gentry, but
winter always drives them back to the towns, and
consequently into prison again. Only a very few man-
age to survive the rigours of the black frosts of the
Rather more amused than alarmed, I lay watching
1S4 THE PRICE OF POWER
the dark figure engaged in rifling m}- pockets. I was
contemplating the best method by which to secure
him and hand him over to the mercies of my host. A
sudden thought struck me. Unfortunately, being
guest in the house of the chief of pohce I had left my
revolver in the sled. I never slept at a post-house
without it. But that night I was unarmed.
Those moments of watching seemed hours. The man,
whoever he was, was tall and slim, though of course
I could not see his face. I held my breath. He was
securing m}' papers and m}' money 1 Yet he did it all
so very leisurely that I could not help admiring his
pluck and confounded coolness.
I hesitated a few seconds and then at last I summoned
courage to act. I resolved to suddenly spring up and
throw myself upon him, so that he would be prevented
from jumping out of the window with my property.
But while I was thus making up my mind how to
act. the mysterious man suddenly left the chair where
my coat had been Mng, and turning, came straight
towards me, advancing slowly on tip-toe. Apparently
he was not desirous of rousing me.
Once again I waited my opportunity to spring upon
hira, for he fortunately was not yet aware that I was
awake and watching him.
I held m\' breath, l3'ing perfectly motionless, for,
advancing to me, he bent over as though to make
absolutely certain that I slept. I tried to distinguish
his face, but in the shadow that was impossible.
I could hear my own heart beating.
He seemed to be peering down at me, as though
in curiosity, and I was wondering what could be his
intentions, now that he had secured both my money
and my papers.
Suddeiily ere I could anticipate his intention, his
hand was uplifted, ajid falling, struck me a heavy
THE PRICE OF POWER 185
blow in the side of the neck just beneath the left
Instantly I felt a sharp burning pain and a sensa-
tion as of the running of warm liquid over my shoulders.
Then I knew that the fluid was blood !
I had been stabbed in the side of the throat '
I shrieked, and tried to spring fiercely upon my
assailant, but he was too quick for me.
My eager hand grasped his arm, but he v/renched
himself free, and next instant had vaulted lightly
through the open window and had disappeared.
And as for myself, I gave vent to a loud shriek for
help, and then sank inertly back, next second losing
The man had escaped with all my precious permits,
signed by the Emperor, as well as my money !
My long journey was now most certainly a futile
one. Without those Imperial permits I was utterly
helpless. I should not, indeed, be allowed to speak
with Madame de Rosen, even though I succeeded in
finding her ahve.
My loss was irreparable, for it had put an end to my
Such were the thoughts which ran through my over-
strung brain at the moment when the blackness of
insensibility fell upon me, blotting out both knowledge
of the present and apprehension of the future.
When again I opened my eyes it was to find a lamp
being held close to my face, and a man who appar-
ently possessed a knowledge of surgery — a political
18G THE PRICE OF POWDER
exile from Moscow, who had been a doctor, I after-
wards discovered — was carefully bathing my wound.
Beside him stood two Cossacks and the chief of pohce
himself. All were greatly agitated that an attack
should have been made upon a man who was guest to
His Imperial Majesty, their Master.
To my host's question I described in a few words
what had occurred, and bewailed the loss of m}- papers
and my money.
" They are not lost," he replied. " Fortunately the
sentr\^ outside heard your scream, and seeing the
intruder emerge from the window and run, he raised
his rifle and shot him."
" Killed him ? " I asked.
" Of course. He was an utter stranger in Olekminsk.
Presently we shaU discover who and what he is. Here
are your papers," he added, handing back the precious
documents to me. " For the present the man's body
lies outside. Afterwards 3'OU shaU see if you recognize
him. From his passport his name w^ould appear to be
Gabrillo Passhin. Do you know anyone of that name ? ' '
'' Nobody," I replied, my brain awhirl with the
crowded events of the past half-hour.
I suppose it was another half-hour before the doctor,
a grey-bearded, prematurely-aged man, finished bandag-
ing my wound and strapping my left arm across my
chest. Then, assisted by my host, I rose and went
forth, led hy men v\-ith lanterns, to where, in the snow,
as he had fallen beneath the sentry's bullet, lay the
They held their lanterns against the white, dead
face, but I did not recognize him. He seemed to be
about thirty-live, ^^dth thin, irregular features and shaven
chin. He was respectably dressed, while his hands were
soft, betraying no evidence of manual labour. The
features were perfectly calm, for death had been
THE PRICE OF POWER 187
instantaneous, the bullet striking at the back of the
Near where he lay a small pool of blood showed
dark against the snow.
While we were examining the body, Petrakoff, whom
I had sent for from the post-house, arrived in hot haste,
and became filled with alarm when he saw my neck and
arm enveloped in bandages.
In a few words I told him what had occurred, and
then advancing, he bent and looked upon my assailant's
face. He remained bent there for quite a couple of
minutes. Then, straightening himself, he asked :
" Does liis passport give his name as Ivan Miiller —
or GabriUo Passhin ? "
" You know him ! " I gasped. " Who is he ? "
" Well," he replied, " I happen to have rather good
reason to know him. In Odessa he was chief of a des-
perate gang of bank-note forgers, who, after eluding us
for two years, were at last arrested — six of them in
Moscow. The seventh, who called himself MiiUer,
escaped to Germany. A year ago he was bold enough
to return to Petersburg, where I recognized him one
day close to the Nicholas station and followed him to
the house where he lodged. I entered there alone,
very foolishly perhaps, whereupon he drev/ a revolver
and fired point-blank at me. The bullet struck me in
the right shoulder, but assistance was forthcoming,
and he was arrested. His sentence about eleven months
ago was confinement in the Fortress of Peter and Paul
for fifteen years. So he must have escaped. Ah ! he
was one of the most daring, astute and desperate
criminals in all Russia. At his trial he spat at the judge,
and contemptuously declared that his friends would
not allow him to be confined for very long."
"It seems that they have not," I remarked thoughtfully.
" The fact of his having dared to break into the
188 THE PRICE OF POWER
house of the chief of police shows in itself the character
of the man," Petrakoff exclaimed. " I m^'self had a
most narrow escape when I arrested him. But what
was he doing here — in Siberia ? "
" He may have been exiled here and escaped,"
remarked the chief of police, as we were returning to
the bureau at the side of the house.
"I hardly think that. Excellency," interrupted a
Cossack sergeant, w^ho had just returned from the
post-station, where he had been making inquiries. " We
have just arrested a yamshick, who arrived with the
assassin an hour after midnight. Here he is."
A moment later a big, red-faced, shaggy, vodka-
drinking driver in ragged furs was brought into the
bureau betvreen tv/o Cossacks, and at once interrogated
by the chief of police.
First he was tak:en out to view the body still lying
in the snow ; then brought back into the police-office ,
a bare, wooden room, lit by a sirfgle petroleum lamp,
and bearing on its walls posters of numbers of official
regulations, each headed by the big black double eagle.
" Now," asked the chief of poHce, assuming an air
of great severity, " where do you come from ? "
" Krasnoyarsk, Excellency," answered the man
" What do you know of the individual you have
just seen dead — eh ? "
" ^\li I know of him, Excellency, is that he contracted
with me to drive him to Yakutsk."
" Why ? Was he quite alone ? "
" Yes, Excellenc}*. He made me hurry, dri\ing
night and day sometimes, for he was overtaking a
" What friend ? "
" Ah ! I do not know. Only at each stancia, or
povamia, he inquired if an EngUshraan had passed.
THE PRICE OF POWER 189
Therefore I conc'uded that it was an Englishman he
Petrakoff, hearing the man's words, looked meaning^/
" He was alone, you say ? " I inquired. " Had he
any friends in Krasnoyarsk, do \'ou know ? "
" None that I know of. He had journeyed al; the
way from Petersburg, and he paid me well, because he
was travelling so rapidly. We heard of the Englishman
at a number of stancias, and have gradually overtaken
him, until we found, on arrival here, that the friend he
sought had only come in an hour before us. I heard
the post-house keeper tell him so."
" Then he was following this mysterious English-
man — eh ? " asked the chief of police, who had seated
himself at his table with some officiousness before com-
mencing the inquir}'.
" No doubt he was, Excellency. One day he told
me that if he did not overtake the Englishman on his
way to Yakutsk, he would remain and wait for his
Then I took a couple of steps forward to the official's
table and said :
" I fear that I must be the Enghshman whom, tliis
mysterious person has followed in such hot haste for
nearly sLx thousand miles."
" So it seems. But why ? " asked the chief of police.
" I can see no reason why that escaped criminal should
follow you with such sinister intent. You don't know
him ? "
" Not in the least. I have never even heard his
" He was well supplied with' money, it seems,"
remarked my host. " This wallet found upon him
contains over ten thousand roubles in notes, together
with a credit upon the branch of the National Bank
190 THE PRICE OF POWER
in Yakutsk for a further thirty thousand." And he
showed me a well-worn leather pocket-book, evidently
of German manufacture.
Both Petrakoff and m\'self knew only too well that
this daring criminal had been released from that cold
citadel in the Neva ancj given money, promised a free
pardon in all probability, if he followed me and at all
hazards prevented me from obtaining an interview with
the poor, innocent, suffering woman whose dastardly
enemy had marked her " dangerous."
I was about to tell the whole scandalous truth, but
on second thought I saw that no good could be served.
Therefore I held my tongue, and allowed the officials
— for the starosti of the \dllage had now arrived— =^
regard the affair as a complete myster3^
I had narrowly escaped death, the doctor had declared ,
and my friend, the chief of police of Olekminsk, kept the
imfortunate yamshick under arrest while he reported
the extraordinary affair to Yakutsk. He also con-
fiscated the mone}^ found upon the man who had made
that daring attack upon me.
I could see he was secretly delighted that the criminal
had been killed. \\Tiat, I wondered, would have hap-
pened to him if I, a guest of His Imperial Majest\^ had
lost my life beneath his roof ?
The" same thought apparently crossed his mind, for
in those white v.dnter da3'5 I was compelled to remain
his guest, being unfit for travel on account of my wound,
he many times referred to the narrow escape I had
Petrakoff, on his part, related to us some astounding
stories of the man, who had been knowTi to the coining
and note-forging fratemit}^ as Miiller, alias Passhin,
the man who had at least three murders to his record.
And this man was Markdff's hireling ! What, I
wondered, was the actual price placed upon my head ?
THE PRICE OF POWER 191
For a whole week — seven weaty days — I was com-
pelled to remain there in Olekmihsk. I wanted to
push forward, but the exiled doctor would not allow it.
There was a small and wretched colony of pohtical
exiles in the village, and I visited them. Fancy a poet
and litterateur, one of those rare Russian souls whose
wonder-working effusions must ultimately enlighten
and enfranchise the people — a Turgenieff — immured for
life in that snowy desert. Yet in Olekminsk there was
such a one. He lived in a wretched one-roomed, log-
built cabin within a stone's-throw of the house wherein
I so nearly lost my life — a tall, alert, deep-eyed man,
whom even the savagery of hisi surroundings could not
dispirit or cool the ardour of his wonderful genius.
From his prolific pen flowed a ceaseless stream of learning
and of light ; he wrote and wrote, and m this wTiting
forgot his wTongs and sorrows. The authorities — the
local officials who wield such autocratic authority in
those parts — were overjoyed to see him in this mood.
They fostered his rich whim, they encouraged him to
write his books, the manuscripts of which they seized and
sold in Petersburg and Berlin, Paris and London.
Yet he Hved in a smoky, wooden hovel, banked up
by snow, and wrote his books upon a rough wooden
bench, which was polished at the spot over which his
forearm travelled with his pen.
No exile, I found, was allowed to cany on any
business, teach in a school, till the soil, labour at a
trade, practise a profession, or engage in any work
otherwise than through a master. If I wanted any
service, an exile would sometimes come and offer to
perform it, but I w^ould have to pay his master, upon
whose bounty he must depend for remuneration.
The doctor, named Kasharofski, who bandaged me
was not a revolutionist, or at all intemperate in his
political views. He was one of the thousands of Markoff '5
192 THE PRICE OF POWER
victims sacrificed in order that the Chief of Secret PoHce
should remain in favour with the- Emperor. Therefore
he was not in favour with man}^ of his fellow-exiles,
who held pronounced revolutionary views. He was on
pleasant visiting teims with the chief of police, and I
often went to his wretched, carpetless hut, around which
were sleeping bunks, and spent many an hour with
him listening to the cruel, inhuman WTong from which
he had suffered at the hands of that marvellously alert
organization, the Secret Pohce.
One gre}', snowy afternoon, while I sat with him
in his bare w^ooden hut, one room with benches around
for beds, and he smoked a cigar I had given him, he
burst forth angrily against the exile system, declaring :
" The whole government is a monstrous mistake.
Russia has been striWng in vain to populate Siberia
for a thousand years, but she wdll never succeed so long
as she continues in her present pohcy of converting
the land into a vast penitentiary wherein the prisoners
are prevented from making an honest hvehhood, and
so driven, if criminals, to a further commission of crime.
Beyond doubt there are rogues of the very worst type
in Russia and Siberia, but certainly it is plain that
their mode of punishment will never tend to elevate or
reform them ; further, it is utterly impossible that
Siberia, under its present system of government, should
ever be populated or improved, as have been the penal
colonies of the French and English."
His words were, alas ! too true. What I had seen
of Siberia and its exile system — those terrible prisons
where men and wom.en were herded together and
infected with typhoid and smallpox ; those wTetched
hovels of the political settlement, and those chained
gangs of despairing prisoners on the roads — had indeed
filled me wdth horror. The condition of those exiles,
both socially and morally, was utterly appalling.
THE PRICE OF POWER 193
The day after my conver5ation with Doctor Kas-
harofski, after a week of irritating delay, in which every
moment I feared that I was losing valuable time, I
set forth again upon my last stage, the journey of four
hundred miles of snow-covered tundra and forests of
cheerless silver birch to Yakutsk.
Did Madame de Rosen still hve, or had Markoff
taken good care that, even though I escaped the
assassin's knife, I should never meet her again in the
Aye, that was the one important question. And my
heart beat quickly as, bidding farewell to my hospit-
able friend, the chief of poHce, our three shaggy horses
plunged jingling away into the snow.
THE JOURNEY'S END
The farther north we pushed, the worse becam-j the
roads, and snow fell daily. Only by following the line
of telegraph and the verst-posts could we find the road,
which sometimes ran along the Lena valley, and at
others crossed high hiUs or penetrated deep, gloomy
forests of dwarfed leafless trees.
After three days we approached a high mountain
range, where absolute silence reigned and the snowfall
was constant and hea\y. The trees were so over-
burdened with the white weight softly and quietly
heaped upon them, that many had broken down, com-
pletely and obstructed the wild road through the forest.
Vasilli had furnished us with hatchets for this purpose,
and we were often compelled to stop and hack and
drag the fallen trees from our path.
When at last we had gained the top of the mountain
pass, we at once felt a complete change in the atmosphere.
194 THE PRICE OF POWER
Whereas to the south even^thmg was as calm as the quiet
of death, in front of us a gale was already blowing, and
instead of trees bowed down and breaking with their
burden of snow, to the northward of the mountain
range not a single flake appeared on the shrubbery or
We had passed from the world of silence to the wild,
bleak regions of the Arctic bhzzard. All that day we
toiled through deep snow% the mountain road rugged
beyond description and the tearing wind icy and howl-
ing. It blew as though it would never calm. And the
distance between the two lonely post-houses was one
hundred and twenty-four English miles. Not a vestige
of a habitation between. All was a great lone land.
The frost was intense, and icicles hung from Vasilli's
beard and from our own moustaches — a black deadly
cold, rendered the more biting by the wind straight
from the Polar ice-pack.
I looked up upon that awful snow-covered road and
shuddered. Luba and her mother had actually tra-
versed it on foot. Because they had been marked
as " dangerous " the Cossack captain had exposed them
to that terrible suffering, hoping that they would thereby
die before reaching Yakutsk — in which case he would,
no doubt, receive a word of commendation from the
We were now fast approaching the dreaded Arctic
penal settlements, of which the to\\Ti of Yakutsk was
the centre, distant over four thousand miles from the
Russian frontier, ever\^ inch of which we had traversed
Hour by hour, day by day, onward we went, with
those irritating bells ever jingling in our ears. Petrakoff
slept, his head sunk wearily upon his breast, but my mind
was much too agitated for sleep. I had, by good fortune,
escaped the assassin who had followed me hot-foot
THE PRICE OF POWER 195
across Asia, and now I must soon overtake the unfor-
tunate woman from whose lips I would seek permission
for Her Highness to speak.
Pakrovskoe, a mere handful of huts, came in sight
one day just as the gre}^ light faded. It was the last
village before our goal — Yakutsk. We changed horses
and ate some dried fish and rye bread, washed down by
a cup of weak tea. Then, after half an hour's rest,
again we went forward into the grey gloom of the snow,
where on our left at the edge of the plain showed the
pale yellow streak of the winter afterglow.
Through that long, interminable night we toiled on
and ever on in deep snowdrifts. Vasilli ever and anon
uttering curses in his beard, for the horses we had
obtained at Pakrovskoe were terrible screws.
At length, however, just as the first grey of dawn
appeared on the horizon our driver pointed with his
whip, cr^dng excitedly :
" Yakutsk ! Excellency ! Yakutsk ! God be
thanked for a safe journey ! "
At first I could see nothing, but presently, straining
my eyes straight before me, I discerned at the far edge
of the snow-covered plain several low towers with bulg>'
spires, and a long line of house roofs silhouetted against
the faint horizon.
Petrakoff gazed forth sleepily, and then with a low,
half-conscious grunt lapsed again into inert slumber.
But no longer could I close my eyes. I drew my
furs more closely round me, and sat wdth eyes fixed
upon my longed-for goal.
Would success crown my efforts, or had, alas ! poor
Mar^^a de Rosen succumbed to the brutal treatment
meted out to her by the Cossack captain.
After three eager, breathless hours, which seemed
weeks to me, we at last drove into the long wdde
thoroughfare which is the principal street of that
196 THE PRICE OF POWER
northerly town — a road lined by small, square wooden
houses, with sloping roofs, each surrounded by its little
stockade. The town seemed practically deserted, a
drear>', dismal, silent place, of which half the inhabi-
tants were exiles or the free children of exiles. The
remainder were, as I afterwards discovered, free
Russians — merchants who had emigrated there for the
advantage of trade, together with a host of Govern-
ment ofhcials^-Cossack, civil, police, revenue, church,
Without much difficulty we found the Guestnitsa
Hotel, a wretched place, verminous and dirty, like ever}'
other hotel in all Siberia was before the enlightening
days of the great railroad. Here I estabhshed myself,
and sent Petrakoft with a note to the Governor-General,
asking for audience without delay.
Scarcely had I washed, shaved and made myself
a trifle presentable — though I fear my unshorn hair
presented a somewhat shaggy appearance — when the
agent of police returned with a note from His Excel-
lency General Vorontzoff, Governor-General of the
provmce, expressing his regret that owing to being
compelled to make a mihtary inspection during that
day he was unable to receive me until five o'clock in
Thus was I compelled to await His Excellency's
The fame of Alexander Vorontzoff was well known
in Petersburg. He was a hard, hide-bound bureaucrat,
without a spark of pity or of human feehng. And for
that reason the camarilla surrounding His Majesty the
Emperor had managed to obtain his appointment as
Governor-General of Yakutsk. He was the catspaw of
that half-dozen astute Ministers who terrorized the
Emperor and his Court, and by so doing feathered
their ov/n nests. " Pohticals " committed by Markoff
THE PRICE OF POWER 197
to his tender mercies were shown little consideration,
for was not his appointment as Governor-General
mainly on account of his brutal treatment of offenders
during his term of office at Tomsk ?
Hartwig, had, more than once, mentioned this man
as the most cruel, inhuman official in all Siberia. There-
fore, being forewarned, I was ready to meet him on his
Many a man, and many a dehcate woman, trans-
ported there from Russia, although quite as innocent
of revolutionary ideas as my friend Madame de Rosen,
had lived but a few short days on their arrival at the
prison at Yakutsk, horrible tales of which had even
hltered through back to Petersburg and Moscow.
One fact well known was that, two years before,
when smallpox had broken out at the prison, this
brutal official caused a whole batch of prisoners to be
placed in a room where a dozen other prisoners were
lying in the last stages of that fatal disease, with the
result that over two hundred exiles became infected,
and of them one hundred and eighty died without
receiving the least medical attention.
Such an action stood to his credit in the bureau
of the Ministry of the Interior at Petersburg ! He had
saved the Em^pire the keep of a hundred and eighty
prisoners — mostly the victims of Markoff and the
WTien at five o'clock I wsls ushered into a big, gloomy
room, lit by a hundred candles in brass sconces, a
vulgar, thick-set man in tight-htting, dark green
uniform, his breast ghttering with decorations, rose to
greet me in a thick, deep voice. I judged him to be
nearly sixty, with grey, steely eyes, a bloated face,
short-cropped grey beard, and very square shoulders.
He apologized for his absence during the day, and
after handing me a cigarette invited me to a chair,
198 THE PRICE OF POWER
covered with red plush, himself taking one opposite to
" I have been already notified of your coming," he
said, speaking through his beard. " They sent me
word from Petersburg that you were traveUing to
Yakutsk. I am very delighted to receive you as guest
of my Imperial Master. In what way can I be of
service to you ? "
I treated him with considerable hauteur, as became
one bearing the order of the Tzar.
From my pocket I produced the Imperial instruc-
tions to all Governors of the Asiatic provinces to do my
bidding. As soon as he saw it his manner changed
and he became most humble and submissive.
" I must again apologize for not receiving you —
for not calling upon you instantly on your arrival, Mr.
Trewinnard. But, truth to teh, I had for the moment
forgotten that you were the guest of His Imperial
Majesty. I had quite overlooked the telegram sent to
me months ago," he said ; and then he read the other
permits I produced. " I hope you have had a safe
journey, and not too uncomfortable," he went on. "I
travelled 'once from Moscow in winter, and I must
confess I, although a Russian, found it uncommonly
I gave him to understand that I had not travelled
over six thousand miles merely to talk of climatic
But he strode with swagger across the big, well-
furnished room, his gay decorations glittering in the
candle-hght. The treble windows were closed with
thick, dark green curtains pulled across them. The
arm-chairs and sofa were leather-covered, and at the
farther end of the room was a big, littered \\Titing-
table set near the high stove of glazed brick.
He was a bachelor, with the reputation of being a
THE PRICE OF POWER 199
hard drinker and a confirmed gambler. And under
the iron hand of this unsympathetic and brutal official
ten thousand poUtical exiles, scattered all over the
Arctic province, led an existence to which, in many
cases, death would have been far preferable.
Upon the dark green walls of that sombre room —
a room in which many a wTetched " political " had
pleaded in vain — was a single picture, a portrait of
the Emperor, one of those printed by the thousand and
distributed to every Government office throughout the
great Empire. His Excellenc}^ General Vorontzoff, as
representative of the Emperor, hved in considerable
state wath a large military staff, and Cossack sentries
posted at all the doors. He was as unapproachable as
the Tzar himself, probably knowing how hated he was
among those unfortunates over whom he held the pov/er
of Hfe and death. For the ordinary man to obtain
audience of him was wellnigh impossible.
The exphcit order in His Majesty's own handwriting
altered things considerabl}^ in my case, and I saw that
he was greatly puzzled as to who I really could be, and
why his Master had been so solicitous regarding my
" I have travelled from Petersbturg, Your Excellency,
in order to have private interviews with two pohtical
prisoners who have recently arrived here," I explained
He frowned slightly at mention of the word " pohtical."
" I understand," he said. " They are friends of
yours — eh ? "
. " Yes," I rephed. " And I wish to have interviews
with the ladies with as httle delay as possible."
" Ladies — eh ? " he asked, raising his grey eyebrows.
" WTio are they ? "
" Their name is de Rosen," I said, " but their exile
numbers are 14956 and 14957."
200 THE PRICE OF POWER
He bent to his writing-table, near which he was at
that moment standing, and scribbled down the numbers.
" They arrived recently, you say ? "
" Yes. And I may tell you in confidence that a
grave injustice has been done in exiling them. His
Majesty is about to institute full and searching inquiries
into the circumstances."
His bloated face fell. He grew a trifle paler, and
regarded me with some .concern.
" I suppose they arrived with the last convoy ? " he
said refiectivety. " We will quickly see."
And he rang a bell, in ansvrer to which a smart young
Cossack officer appeared, saluting.
To him he handed the shp of paper with the numbers,
saying in that hard, imperious voice of his :
" Report at once to me the whereabouts of these
twO' prisoners. They arri\-ed recently, and I am
The officer again saluted and withdrew. Scarcely
had he closed the door when another officer, wearing
his heavy greatcoat flecked with snow, entered and,
saluting, handed the Governor a paper, saying :
" The prisoners for Kolimsk are ready to start.
" How many ? "
" Two hundred and seven — one hundred and twenty-
six men, and eighty-one women. Your Excellency."
Sredne-Kolimsk ! That was the most northerly
and most dreaded settlement in all the Arctic, still
distant nearly one thousand miles — the hving tomb
of so many of Markoff' s victims.
" Are they outside ? " asked the Governor. To
which the officer in charge rephed in the affirmative.
" May I see them ? " I asked. Whereupon my
request was readily granted.
But before we went outside General Vorontzoff
THE PRICE OF POWER 201
took the list from the Captain's hand and scrawled
his signature— the signature which sent two hundred
and seven men and women to the coldest region in the
world — that frozen boiu-ne whence none ever returned.
Outside in the dark snowy night the wretched gang,
in rough, grey, snow-covered clothes, were assembled,
a dismal gathering of the most hopeless and dejected
wretches in the world, all of them educated, and the
majority being members of the professional classes.
Yet all iiad, by that single stroke of the Governor's pen,
been consigned to a terrible fate, existence in the filthy
yaurtas or huts of the half-civihzed Yakuts — an un-
washed race who live in the same stable as their cows,
and whose habits are incredibly disgusting.
That huddled, shivering crowd had already trudged
over four thousand miles on foot and survived, though
how many had died on the way would never be told.
They stood there like driven cattle, inert, silent and
broken. Hardly a word was spoken, save by the mounted
Cossack guards, who smoked or joked, several of them
havmg been drinking vodka freely before leaving.
The Governor, standing at my side, glanced around
them, mere shadows on the snow. Then he exclaimed
with a lev/ laugh, as though amused :
" Even this fate is too good for such vermin ! Let's
I followed him in without a word. My heart bled
for those poor unfortunate creatures, who at that
moment, at a loud word of command from the Cossack
captain, moved away into the bleak and stormy night.
In the cosy warmth of his own room General Voront-
zoff threw himself into a deep arm-chair and declared
that I must leave the " Guestnitsa " and become his
guest, an invitation which I had no inchnation to accept.
He offered me champagne, which I was compelled out
of courtesy to drink, and we sat smoking until presently
202 THE PRICE OF POWER
the young Cossack officer reappeared, bearing a bundle
of official papers.
" Well, where are they ? " inquired the Governor
quicldy. " How slow3''ou are ! " he added emphatically.
" The two prisoners in question are still here in
Yakutsk," was the officer's reply. " They have not
yet been sent on to Parotovsk."
" Then I must go to them at once," I cried in eager-
ness, starting up quickly from my chair. " I must
speak with them without delay. I demand to do so —
in the Tzar's name."
The officer bent and whispered some low words
into His Excellency's ear ; whereupon the Governor,
turning to me with a strange expression upon his
coarse countenance, said in a quiet voice :
" I much regret, Mr. Trewinnard, but I fear that
is impossible — quite impossible ! "
LUBA MAKES A STATEMENT
" Impossible ! " I echoed, staring at the all-powerful
official. " \Miy ? "
He shrugged his shoulders, slowly flicked the ash
from his cigarette and glanced at the paper which,
the officer had handed to him.
I saw that beneath the candle-light his heavy features
had changed. The diamond upon his finger flashed
" My pen and v/riting-pad," he said, addressing
The latter went to the writing-table and handed
what he required.
His Excellency rapidly scribbled a few words, then
tearing off the sheet of paper handed it to me, saying :
THE PRICE OF POWER 203
" As \'oii so particularly wish to see them, I suppose
your request must be granted. Here is an order to the
I took it with a word of thanks, and without delay
put on my heavy fur shuba and accompanied the aide-
de-camp out into the darkness. He carried a big, old-
fashioned lantern to guide my footsteps, though the walk
through the steadily-falling snow was not a long one.
Presently we came to a series of long, wood-built
houses, windowless save for some small apertures high
near the roof, standing behind a high stockade before
which Cossack sentries, huddled in their greatcoats,
were pacing, white, snowy figures in the gloom.
My guide uttered some password, which brought
two sentries at the door to the salute, and then the
great gates opened and we entered a big, open space
which we crossed to the bureau, a large, low room,
Ut by a single evil-smelling petroleum lamp. Here
I met a narrow-jawed, deep-eyed man in uniform —
the prison governor, to whom I presented my permit.
He called a Cossack gaoler, a big, fur-clad man with a
jingling bunch of keys at his waist, and I followed him
out across the courtyard to one of the long wooden sheds,
the door of which he with difficulty unlocked, unbolted,
and threw open.
A hot, stifling breath of crowded humanity met me
upon the threshold, a foetid odour of dirt, for the place
was unventilated, and then by the single lam.p high in
the roof I saw that along each side of the shed were
inclined plank benches crowded by sleeping or reclining
women still in their prison clothes, huddled side by side
with their heads against the wall, their feet to the
" Prisoners ! " shouted the gaoler in Russian. " At-
tention ! Where is one four nine five seven ? "
There was a silence as I stood upon the threshold.
204 THE PRICE OF POWER
" Come," cried the man petulantly. " I want her
A weak, thin voice, low and trembling, responded,
and from the gloom' slowly emerged a female figure
in thick, ill-fitting clothes of grey cloth, unkempt
" Move quickly," snapped the gaoler. " Here is
someone to see you ! "
"To see me ! " repeated the weak voice slowly.
Next moment, the light of the lantern revealed my
face, I suppose, for she dashed forward, crying in
English : " W^y — you, Mr. Trewinnard ! Ah ! save
me ! Oh ! save me ! I beg of you."
And she clung to me, trembling with fear.
It was the girl Luba de Rosen ! Alas ! so altered
w^as she, so pale, haggard and prematurely aged that
I scarcely recognized her. Her appearance was dejected,
ragged, horrible ! Her fair hair that used to be so
much admired was now tangled over her eyes, and her
fine figure hidden by her rough, ill-fitting prison gown,
which was old, dirty and tattered. I stared at her,
speechless in horror.
She was only nineteen. In that smart set in which
her mother moved her beauty had been much admired.
Madame de Rosen was the widow of a wealthy Jew
banker, and on account of her late husband's loans
to certain high officials to cover their gambling debts,
all doors had been open to her. I recollected when I
had last seen Luba, the night before her arrest. She
had worn a pretty, Paris-made gown of carnation
chiffon, and was waltzing with a good-looking young
officer of the Kazan Dragoons. Alas ! what a different
picture she now presented.
" Luba ! " I said quieth^ in English, taking her hand
as she clung to me. " Come outside. I am here to
speak with you. I want to talk with you alone."
THE PRICE OF PO\^^R 205
The gaoler, who had had his orders from the Gover-
nor, relocked and bolted the door, and taking his lantern,
withdrew a respectable distance while I stood with
Luba under the wooden wall of the prison wherein she
had been confined.
" I have followed you here," I said, opening my
capacious fur coat and throwing it around the poor
shivering girl. " I only arrived to-night. Where
is your mother ? I must see her at once."
She was silent. In the darkness I saw that her
white face was downcast.
i felt her sobbing as I held her, weak and tearful,
in my arms. She seemed, poor girl, too overcome at
meeting me to be able to speak. She tried to articulate
some words, but they became choked by stifled sobs.
" Your mother has been very ill, I hear, Luba,"
I said. " Is she better ? "
But the girl only drew a long sigh and slowly shook
" I — I can't tell you — Mr. Trewinnard ! " she managed
to exclaim. " It is all too terrible — horrible ! My poor
mother ! Poor darling ! She — she died this morning ! "
" Dead ! " I gasped. My heart sank within me.
The iron entered my soul.
" Yes. Alas ! " responded the unfortunate girl. " And
I am left alone — all alone in this awful place ! Ah !
Mr. Trewinnard, you do not know — you can never dream
how much we have suffered since we left Petersburg.
I would have preferred death a thousand times to this.
And my poor mother. She is dead — at last she now has
peace. The Cossacks cannot beat her with their whips
" Where did she die ? " I asked blankly.
" In here — in this prison, upon the bench beside
where I slept. Ah ! " she cried, " I feel now as though
I shall go mad. I lived only for her sake — to wait
206 THE PRICE OF POWER
upon her and try to alleviate her sufferings. Now
that she has been taken from me I have no other object
for v/hich to live in this dreary waste of ice and snow.
In a week X shall be sent on to Parotovsk with the
others. But I hope before reaching there that God will
be merciful and allow me to die."
" No, no ! " I exclaimed, my hand placed tenderly
upon the poor girl's shoulder. ' ' Banish such thoughts.
You may be released yet. I am here, striving towards
But she only sliook her head again very mournfully.
Nobody is released from Siberia.
As we stood together, my heavy coat wrapped
about her in order to protect her a little from the
piercing blast, she told me how, under the fatigue and
exposure of the journey, her mother had fallen so ill
that she one day dropped exhausted by the roadside.
One Cossack officer, finding her unconscious, suggested
that she should be left there to die, as fully half a dozen
other dehcate women had been left. But another
officer of the convoy, a trifle more humane, had her
placed in a tarantass, and. by that means she had
travelled as far as Tulunovsk. But the officer m charge
there had compelled her to again walk, and over that
last thousand miles of snow she had dragged wearily
until, ill and worn out, she had arrived in Yakutsk.
From the moment of her arrival she had scarcely
spoken. So weak was she, that she could only lie
upon the bare wooden bench, and was ever begging
to be allowed to die. And only that morning had
she peacefully passed away. I had arrived twelve
hours too late !
She had carried her secret to her grave !
I heard the terrible story from the girl's lips in
silence. My long weary journey had been all in vain.
From the beginning to the end of poor Madame's
THE PRICE OF POWER 207
illness no medical man had seen her. From what
she had suffered no one knew, and certainly nobody-
cared a jot. She was, in the eyes of the law, a " dan-
gerous political " who had died on the journey to the
distant settlement to which she had been banished.
And how many others, alas ! had succumbed to the
rigours of that awful journey !
I walked with Luba back to the Governor's bureau,
and in obedience to my demand he gave me a room —
a bare place with a brick stove, before which the
poor sad-eyed girl sat with me.
I saw that the death of her mother had utterly
crushed her spirit. Transferred from the gaiety and
luxury of Petersburg, her pretty home and her merry
circle of friends, away to that wilderness of snov/, with
brutal Cossacks as guards — men who beat exhausted
women with whips as one lashes a dog — her brain was
at last becoming affected. At certain moments she
seemed very curious in her manner. Her deep blue
eyes had an unusual intense expression in them — a
look which I certainly did not like. That keen glittering
glance was, I knew, precursory to madness.
Though unkempt and ragged, wearing an old pair
of men's high boots and a dirty red handkerchief
tied about her head, her beauty was still remarkable.
Her pretty mouth was perhaps harder, and it tightened
at the corners as she related the tragic story of their
arrest and their subsequent journey. Yet her eyes
were splendid, and her cheeks were still dimpled as
they had been when I had so often sat at tea with her
in her mother's great salon in Petersburg, a room deco-
rated in white, with rose-du-Barri furniture.
In tenderness I held her hand as she told me of
the brutal treatment both she and her fellow-prisoners
had received at the hands of the Cossacks.
" Nevermind, Luba," I said with a smile, endeavouring
208 THE PRICE OF POWER
to cheer her, " every cloud has its silver lining.
Your poor mother is dead, and nobody regrets it more
than myself. I travelled in haste from England in order
to see her — in order to advise her to reveal to me a certain
secret vvhich she possessed."
" A secret ! " said the girl, looking straight into my
face. " A secret of what ? "
" Well/' I said slowly, " first, Luba, let me explain
that, as you well know, I am an old friend of your
" I know that, of course," she said. " Poor mother
has frequently spoken of you during her journey.
She often used to wonder what you vrould think when
you heard of our arrest."
" I knew you were both the innocent victims of General
Markoff," I said quickly.
'■ Ah ! then you knew that I " she cried. " How
did you know ? "
'■' Because I was well aware that Markoff was your
mother's bitterest enem}^" I answered.
" He was. But why ? Do you know that, Mr.
Tre\^innard ? Can you give me ?ny explanation ?
It has always been a most complete myster^^ to me.
Mother always refused to tell me anything."
I paused. I had hoped that she would know some-
thing, or at least that she might give me some hint
which would serve as a clue by which to elucidate the
mystery of those incriminating letters, now, alas !
" Has your mother told you nothing ? " I asked,
looking earnestly straight in her face.
" Immediately before her arrest she gave to Her
Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Natalia certain
letters, asking her to keep them in safety. Are you
av.are of that ? "
THE PRICE OF POWER 20»
*' Mother told me so," the girl replied. " She also
believed that the letters in question must have fallen
into General Markoff's hands."
" Why ? "
" I do not know. She often said so."
" She believed that the arrest and exile of you both
was due to the knowledge of what those letters coh-
tained — eh ? " I asked.
" I think so."
" But tell me, Luba," I asked ver}' earnestly, " did
your mother ever reveal to 3-ou the nature of those
letters ? I am here to discover tliis — because — well,
to tell the truth, because your friend the Grand Duchess
Xataha is in deadly peril."
" In peril, v/hy ? Where is she ? "
In a few brief words I told her of XataUa's i'.icog'nita
at Brighton, and of the attempt that had been made
to assassinate us both, in order to suppress any know-
ledge of the^ letters that either of us might have gained.
" Our <j\vn sad case is on a par with yours," she
declared thoughtfully at last. " Poor mother was,
I think, av/are of some secret of General Markoff's.
Perhaps it was beUeved that she had told me. At
any rate, we were both arrested and sent here, where
we should never have any opportunity of using our
'' You have no idea of its nature, Luba," I asked
in a low voice, stih deeply in earnest. " I mean you
have no suspicion of the actual nature of the contents
of those letters which your mother gave into NataUa's
cure ? "
The girl was silent for some time, her e^^es downcast
At last she rephed :
*■ It would be untrue to say that I entertain no
suspicion. But, alas ! I have no conoboration. My
210 THE PRICE OF POWER
belief is only based upon what my dear mother so often
used to repeat to me."
" And what was that ? " I asked.
" That she had held the hfe of Russia's oppressor,
General Markoff, in her hand. That she could have
crushed and ruined liim as he so justly deserved ; but
that for motives of humanity she had warned him of
repeating his dastardly actions, and had long hesitated
to bring him to ruin and to death."
" Ah ! the brute. He knew that," I cried. " He
craftily awaited his opportunity, then he dealt her
a cowardly blow, by arresting her and sending her
here, where even in life or in death her lips woiild be
closed for ever."
NOT IN THE NEWSPAPERS
T^^^LVE weeks had elapsed — cold, weary weeks of
constant sledging over those bleak, snovr'-bound plains,
westv.^ard, back to civilization.
On the twenty-seventh of April — I have, alas !
cause to remember the date — at six o'clock in the
evening, I alighted from the train at Brighton, and
Hartwig came eagerly forward to greet me.
I had joume3"ed incessantly, avoiding Petersburg
and coming by Warsaw and Berlin to the Hook of
Holland,' and that morning had apprised him of my
arrival in England ; but, I fear, as I emerged from
the train my appearance must have been somewhat
travel-worn. True, I had bought some ready-made
clothes in Berlin — a new overcoat and a new hat. But
I was horribly conscious that they were ill-fitting, as is
every man who wears a " ready-to-wear garment " —
as the tailors call it.
THE PRICE OF POWER 211
Yes, I was utterly fagged out after that long and
fruitless errand, and as I glanced at Hart wig I detected
in an instant that something unusual had occurred.
" What's the matter ? " I asked quickly. ' " What
has happened ? "
" Ah ! that I unfortunately do not exactly know.
jVIr. Trewinnard," was his reply in a tone quite unusual
" But what has occurred ? "
" Disaster," he answered in a low, hoarse voice.
" Her Highness has mysteriously disappeared ! "
" Disappeared ! " I gasped, halting and staring at
him. " How ? With whom ? "
" How can we tell ? " he asked, with a gesture of despair.
" Explain," I urged. " Tell me quickl3^ How did
it happen ? "
Together we walked slowly out of the station-yard
down in the direction of King's Road, when he said :
" Well, the facts are briefly these. Last Monday
^ — that is five days ago — Her Highness and Miss West
had been over to Eastbourne by train to see an old
schoolfellow of the Grand Duchess's, a certain Miss
Finlay — with whom I have since had an interview.
They lunched at Mrs. Finlay 's house — one of those new
ones on the road to Beachy Head — and left, together
with Miss Finlay, to walk back to the station at half-
past seven o'clock. Her Highness would not drive,
but preferred to walk along the Promenade and up
Terminus Road. When close to the station, Dmitri —
who accompanied them — says that Her Highness stopped
suddenly before a fancy needlework shop, while the
other two went on. The Grand Duchess, before
entering the shop, motioned to Dmitri to walk along to
the station, for his surveillance, as you know, always
irritated her. Dmitri, therefore, strolled on — and —
well, that was the last seen of her Highness ! "
212 THE PRICE OF PO\VER
" Impossible ! " I gasped.
" I have made every effort to trace her, but without
avail," declared Hartwig in despair. " It appears that
she purchased some coloured silks for embroider}^ paid
for them, and then went out quite calmly. The girl
who serv^ed her recollects her customer being met upon
the threshold by a man who raised his hat in greeting
and spoke to her. But she could not see his face, nor
could she, in the dusk, discern whether he were young
or old. The young lady seemed to be pleased to meet
him, and, very curioush'', it struck her at the time that
that meeting had been prearranged."
" Wliy ? " I asked.
" Because she says that the young lady, while making
her purchase, glanced anxiously at her gold wristlet-
watch once or twice."
" She had a train to catch, remember."
" Yes. I put that point before the girl, but she
remains unshaken in her con\dction that Her Highness
met the man there by appointment. In any case,"
he added, " w/e have been unable to discover* any trace
of her since."
I was silent for a moment.
" But, surely, Hartwig, this is a most extraordinary
affair ! " I cried. " She may have been deco}'ed into
the hands of Danilovitch ! "
" That is, alas ! what I very much fear," the police
official admitted. " This I believe to be some deeply-
laid plot of Markoff's to secure her silence. You have
been across Siberia, and arrived too late, yet Her
Highness is still in possession of the secret. She is the
only living menace to Markoff. Is it not natural,
therefore, that he should take steps to seal her Hps ? "
" We must discover her, Hartwig — we must find
her, either alive or dead," I said resolutely.
This news staggered me, fagged and worn out as I
THE PRICE OF POWER 213
was. I had been compelled to leave Luba in the hands
of the Governor-General, who had promised, because
I was the gnest of His Majesty, that he would do all in
his power to render her lot less irksome. Indeed, she
had been transferred to one of tlie rooms in the prison
hospital in Yakutsk, and was under a wardress, instead
of being guarded by those brutal, uncouth Cossacks.
But this sudden disappearance of Natalia just at
the very moment when her presence was of greatest
importance held me utterly bewildered. All my efforts
had been in vain !
Should I telegraph the alarming news to the Emperor ?
Hartwig explained to me how diligently he had
searched, and at once I realized the expert method
with which he was dealing with the remarkable affair,
and the wide scope of his inquiry. No man in Europe
was more fitted to institute such a search. He had,
in confidence, invoked^ the aid of New Scotland Yard,
and being known by the heads of the Criminal Investi-
gation Department, they had allowed him to direct the
" At present," he said, " the papers are fortunately
in entire ignorance of the matter. I have been very
careful that notliing shaU leak out, for the story would,
of course, be a grand one for the sensational Press.
The pubHc, however, does not know whose identity
is hidden beneath the name of Gottorp, and no reporter
dreams that a Russian Grand Duchess has been living
incognita in Brunswick Square," he added with a smile.
" The Criminal Investigation Department have agreed
with me that it would be imwise for a single word
to leak out regarding the disappearance. Of course
they incline to the theory of a secret lover — but "
" You suspect young Drur>- — eh ? " I interrupted
" I hardly know what theoi-y to form," he said with
214 THE PRICE OF POWER •
a puzzled air : " while the shopgirl in Eastbourne
describes the appearance of the man's back as exactly
similar to that of Mr. Drury, yet I cannot believe that
he would v/illingh' play us such a trick. I know him
quite well, and I beheve him to be a very honest, upright,
straightforward 3'oung fellow."
" He knows nothing of Her Highness's real identity ? "
I asked anxiously, as we still strolled down towards
" Has no suspicion whatever of it. He believes
Miss Gottorp to be the daughter of a Berlin brewer
who died and left her a fortune. No," he went on,
*' I detect in this affair one of Markoff's clever plots.
She probably believed that she was to meet young
Drury, Etnd adopted that ruse to pause and speak with
him— but ! "
" But what ? " I asked, turning and looking into
liis grave face, revealed by the light of a shop window.
" Well — she was led into a trap," he said. " Decoyed
away into one of the side streets, perhaps — and then —
well, who knows what might have happened ? "
" You have searched Eastbourne, I suppose ? "
" The Criminal Investigation Department are doing
so," he said. " I am making a perfectly independent
'' You have reported nothing yet to Petersburg
— eh ? "
" Not a word. What can I say ? I have asked Miss
West to refrain from uttering a syllable — also the
Finlays have promised entire secrecy."
" There is a motive in her disappearance, Hartwig,"
I said. " What is it ? "
" Ah ! That's just it, Mr. Trewinnard," he replied.
'' Her Highness had no motive whatever to disappear.
Mr. Drury was alwa3^s welcome at Brunswick Square,
for Miss West entirely approved of him. Besides, his
THE PRICE OF POWER 215
presence had prevented other flirtations. Therefore^
there was no reason that there should have been any
clandestine meeting in Eastbourne."
" Then the onl}- other suggestion is that of treacher}\"
" Exactly. And that is the correct one — depend
" If she has fallen into Markoff's hands, then she
may be already dead ! " I gasped, staring at him,
" If so, the secret will remain a secret for ever ! "
For a moment the great detective remained silent.
Then slowly he said :
" To tell the truth, that is exactly what I fear. Yet
I will try and suppress the horrible apprehension. It
is too terrible."
" Danilovitch is unscrupulous," I said, " and he
" No doubt he does. He fears us, yet ' and he
paused. " Yet a most curious point is the fact that
Her Highness deliberately remained behind and sent
Dmitri on, in order to be allowed opportunity to escape
" All cleverl}' planned by her enemies," I declared.
" She was misled, and fell into some ver}' cunningly-
baited trap, without a doubt. Do you believe she is
still in Eastbourne ? "
" Neither do I," was my assertion. " She went to
London, no doubt, for there she would be easily concealed
— if death has not already overtaken- her — as it has
overtaken poor Madame de Rosen."
" I trust not," he said yery thoughtfully. Then
he added : "I have been thinking whether we might
not again approach Danilovitch ? "
" He is our enemy and hers. He will give us no
satisfaction," I said. " Certainly, whatever plot sug-
gested by Markoff arose in his fertile brain. And his
216 THE PRICE OF POWER
plots iisually have the same result — the death of the
victim. It may be so in this case," I added reflectively ;
'' but I sincerety tnist not."
Hartwdg drew a long breath. His face clouded.
" Remember," he said, " it is to Markoff's advantage
— indeed to him her death means the suppression of
some disgraceful truth. If she lives — then his fall is
imminent. I have foreseen this all along, hence m}'
constant precaution, which, alas ! was relaxed last
Monday, because I had to go to London to consult the
Ambassador. They evidently were aware of that."
I explained the failure of my errand, whereat he
drew a long breath and said :
" It almost seems, Mr. Trewinnard, that our enemies
have secured the advantage of us, after all. I really
fear they have."
" You fear that the trap into which Her Highness
has fallen is a fatal one — eh ? " I asked, glancing at
" Wliat can I reply ? " he said in a low tone. " Kverf
inquiry I can de^vdse is in progress. All the ports are
watched, and observ^ation is kept night and day upon
the house in Lower Clapton from a house opposite,
which Matthews, of New Scotland Yard, has taken for
the purpose. Her Highness has not been there —
up to now. Markoff is in Petersburg."
The great detective — the man whose cleverness in
the detection of crime was perhaps unequalled in
Europe— drew a long, thoughtful face as he halted with
me beneath a street-lamp.
People hurried past us, ignorant of the momentous
question we were discussing.
" Where is Dniry ? " I asked suddenly.
" Ah ! That is yet another point," answered Hartwig.
" He, too, is missing— he has disappeared ! "
THE PRICE OF POWER 2ir
CHAPTER XX VH
Just before eleven o'clock that night, accompanied
by Hartwig, I called at Richard Dnir^^'s cosy artistic
flat in Albemarle Street, and in answer to my questions
his valet, a tall, thin-faced young man, informed me that
his master was not at home.
" I understand that you have had no news of him
since last Monday ? " I said. " The fact is, this gentle-
man is a detective, and we are endeavouring to elucidate
the mystery of Mr. Drury's disappearance."
The valet recognized Hartwig as having called before,
and invited us into the small bachelor sitting-room, over
the mantelpiece of which were many photographs of
its owner's friends — the majority being of the opposite
" Well, sir, it's a complete mystery," the man replied.
" My master slept here on Sunday night, and left for the
countr}^ on Monday afternoon. He had a directors-'
meeting at Westminster on Tuesday, and told me that
he should be back at midday. But he has never re-
turned. That's all. They sent round from the office
to know if he was in town, and of course I told them that
he had not come back."
" Have there been any callers lately ? " I asked >
" Has a lady been here ? "
" Only one lady ever calls, sir — a foreign lady named
" And has she been here lately ? " I inquired quickly.
" She called on the Friday, and they went out together
to lunch at Jules's. She often calls. She's a very nice
young lady, sir."
" She hasn't called since Monday ? " I asked.
218 THE PRICE OF POWER
" No, sir. A stranger — a foreigner — called on Tues-
day afternoon and inquired for Mr. Drury."
" A foreigner ! " I exclaimed. " Who was he ? De-
" Oh ! he was a dark, middle-aged man, dressed in a
shabby brown suit. He wanted to see Mr. Drury very
Hartwig and I exchanged glances. Was the caller
an agent of Secret Police.
" What did he sa}^ when you told him of your master's
absence ? "
" He seemed rather puzzled, and went away ex-
pressing his intention of calling again."
" He was a stranger ? "
" I'd never seen him before, sir."
" And this ^liss Gottorp — is your master very attached
to her ? "
" He worships her, as the sayin' is, sir," replied the
man frankly. " She lives down at Brighton, and he
spends half his time there on her account."
"You say your master left London for the country
on Monday afternoon. What was his destination ? "
"Ah, I don't know. I only know he drove to
Victoria, but whether he left by the South Eastern or
the South Coast line is a mystery."
I had already formed a theory that Drury had
travelled down to Eastbourne and had met his well-
beloved outside the shop in Terminus Road. After-
wards both had disappeared ! My amazement was
mingled with annoyance and chagrin. Natalia had,
alas ! too Httle regard for the convenances. She had
acted foolishly, with that recklessness which had
always characterized her and had already scandalized
the Imperial Family. Now it had resulted in her be-
coming victim of some dastardly plot, the exact nature
of which was not yet apparent.
THE PRICE OF POWER 219
For half an hour we both questioned Drury's valet,
but could learn little of further interest. Therefore we
left, and strolled along Piccadilly as far as St. James's
Club, where, until a late hour, we sat discussing the
Was it an elopement, or had they both fallen victinis
of some cleverly-conceived trap in which we detected
the sinister hand of His Excellency General Serge
Next day I returned to Brighton and closely questioned
Miss West, the maid Davey, and the puzzled Dmitri.
I saw the manager of the hotel where Drury was in the
habit of staying, and, discovering that Drury's friend.
Doctor Ingram, lived in Gower Street, I returned to
London and that same night succeeded in running him
He was perfectly frank.
" Dick has disappeared as suddenl}" as if the ea.rth
has swallowed him," he declared. " I can't make it
out, especially as he told me he had a most important
directors' meeting last Tuesday, and that he must travel
up to Greenock on Thursday to be present at the launch
of a new cruiser which his firm is building for the
x\dmi£alty. He certainly would have kept those two
appointments had he been free to do so."
" You knew Miss Gottorp, I believe ? " I asked of the
quiet-mannered, studious young man in gold-rimmed
" Quite well. Dick's man told me yesterday that the
young lady has also disappeared," he said. "It is
really most extraordinary. I can't make it out. Dick
is not the kind of man to elope, 3'ou know. He's too
straightforward and honourable. Besides, he was
always made most welcome at Brunswick Square
— though, between ourselves, the young lady, though
inexpressibly charming, was always a very great mystery
220 THE PRICE OF POWER
to me. I went with Dick twice to her house, and on
each occasion saw men, foreigners they seemed, lurking
about the hall. . They eyed one suspiciously, and I did
not like to visit her on that account."
I pretended ignorance, but could see that he held
Natalia in some suspicion. Indeed, he half hinted that
for aught they knew, the pretty young lady might be
some clever foreign adventuress.
At that I laughed heartily. What would he think if
I spoke the truth ?
Next day I put into the personal columns of several
of the London newspapers an advertisement which read :
" GoTTORP. — Have returned : very anxious ; write
club — Unxle Colin."
Then for four days I waited for a reply, visiting the
club a dozen times each day, but aU in vain.
I called at Chesham House one afternoon and had a
chat with His Excellency the Russian Ambassador. He
was unaware of Her Imperial Highness's disappearance,
and I did not inform him. I wanted to know what
knowledge he possessed, and whether Markoff was still
m Petersburg. I discovered that he knew nothing,
and that at that moment the Chief of Secret Police was
with the Emperor at the mihtary manoeuvres in progress
on that great plain which stretches from the town of
Ivanovo across to the western bank of the broad Volga.
Hartwig was ever active, night and day, but no trace
could we find of the missing couple: Drury's friends,
on their part, were making inquiry in every direction,
but all to no avail. The pair had entirely disappeared.
The house of the conspirators in Lower Clapton was
being watched night and day, but as far as it could be
observ^ed there was little or no activity in that quarter.
DaniIo\itch was still living there in retirement, going
THE PRICE OF POWER 221
out only after dark, and though he was always shadowed
it could not be found that he ever called at any other
place than a little shop kept by a Russian cigarette-
maker in Dean Street, Soho, and a small eight-roomed
villa in North Finchley, where lived a compatriot named
Felix Sasonoff, the London correspondent of one of the
Petersburg daily newspapers.
Our warning had, it seemed, had its effect. Much as
we desired to approach the mysterious head of the so-
called Revolutionary Organization — the man known as
" The One," but whose identity was veiled in mystery —
we dared not do so, knowing that he was our bitterest
One morning, in despair at obtaining no trace of the
missing pair, I resolved to travel to Petersburg and there
make inquiry. I realized that I must imform the
Emperor, even at risk of his displeasure, for, after all,
I had been compelled by my journey to Siberia to relax
my vigilance, though I had left the little madcap under
What if they had actually eloped ! Alas ! I knew
too well the light manner in which Natalia regarded the
conventions of old-fashioned Mother Grundy. Indeed,
it had often seemed her delight to commit breaches of
the Imperial etiquette and to cause horror in her family.
Yet surely she would never commit such an unpardon-
able offence as to elope with Richard Drury !
Again, was she already dead ? That was, I confess,
my greatest fear, knowing well the desperate cunning
of Serge Markoff, and all that her decease meant to him.
So, with sudden resolve, I took the Nord Express
once more back across Europe, and four days later found
myself again in my old room at the Embassy, where
Stoyanovitch brought me a command to audience from
How can I adequately describe the interview, which
222 THE PRICE OF POWER
took place in a spacious room in the Palace of Tzar-
, " So your friend Madame de Rosen was unfortunately
dead before you reached Yakutsk," remarked His
Majesty gravely, standing near the window in a brilliant
uniform covered with glittering decorations, for he had
just returned from an official function. " I heard of
it," he added. " The Governor-General Vorontzoff
reported to me by telegraph. Indeed, Trewinnard, I
had frequent reports of your progress. I am sorry you
undertook such a journey all in vain."
" I beg of Your Majest3^'s clemency towards the dead
woman's daughter Luba," I asked.
But he only made a gesture of impatience, saying :
" I have already demanded a report on the whole
case. Until that comes, I regret I cannot act. Voront-
zoff v/ill see that the girl is not sent farther north, and
no doubt she ^^'ill be well treated."
In a few brief words I described som.e of the scenes
I had witnessed on the Great Post Road, but the
Emperor only sighed heavily and replied :
" I regret it, I tell \^ou. But how can I control the
loyal Cossacks sent to escort those who have made
attempts upon my Hfe ? I admit most freely that the
exile system is wTong, cruel — perhaps inhuman. Yet
how can it be altered ? "
" If Your Majesty makes searching inquir\^ he will find
some terrible injustices committed in the name of the law."
''' In confidence, I teU you, I am having secret inquiry
made in certain quarters," he replied. " And, Tre-
wdnnard, I wish you, if you wih, to make out for me a
full and confidential report on your journey, and I will
then have all your allegations investigated."
I thanked him. Though an autocrat, he was yet a
humane and just ruler — when he was allowed to exercise
justice, which, unfortunatelv, was but seldom. ■,
THE PRICE OF POWER 223
"My journey had a tragic sequel in Yakutsk, Sire/'
I said presently, " and upon my return to England I
was met with still another misfortune — a misfortune upon
which I desire to consult Your Imperial Majesty."
" What ? " he asked, opening his eyes widely. " A
further misfortune ? "
" 1^ regret to be compelled to report that her Imperial
Highness the Grand Duchess Natalia has disappeared,"
I said in a low voice.
His dark, hea\y brows narrowed, Ids cheeks went
pale, and his lips compressed.
" Disappeared ! " he gasped. " WTiat do you mean ?
Describe this latest escapade of hers — for I suppose it
is some ridiculous freak or other ? "
" I fear not, Sire," was my reply. Then, having
described to him the facts as I have related them here
to you, my reader, omitting, of course, aU reference to
Richard Drur\^ I added : " WTiat I fear is that Her
Highness has fallen victim to some revolutionary plot."
" Why ? What motive can the revolutionar}-' party
have in msiking an attempt upon her — a mere giddy
girl ? "
" The same motive which incited the attempt in
Petersburg, in which her lamented father lost his life,"
was my quiet reply.
His Majesty touched a bell, and in answer Stoyano-
vitch appeared upon the threshold and saluted.
" If General Markoff is still here I desire to see him
The Captain saluted, backed out, and withdrew.
I held my breath. This was, indeed, a misfortune.
I had no wish that Markoff should know of the inquiries
I was instituting.
" May I venture to make a request of Your Majesty ? "
I asked in a low, uncertain voice.
" What is it ?" he asked with quick irritation.
224 THE PRICE OF POWER
" That General Markoff shall be allowed to remain
in ignorance of Her Highness 's disappearance ? "
" Why ? " asked the Emperor, looking across at me
" Because — well, because, for certain reasons, I
believe secrecy at present to be the best course," I
replied somewhat lameh'.
" Nonsense ! " was his abrupt response. " Natalia
is missing. You suspect that she has fallen victim to
some conspirac}'. Therefore Markoff must know, and
our Secret Pohce must investigate. Markoff knows of
every plot as soon as it is conceived. His organization
is marvellous. He will probably know something.
Fortunately, he had only just left me on your arrival."
His Excellency probably left the Emperor's presence
because he did not wish to meet me face to face.
Again I tried to impress upon His Majesty that, as
Hartwig had commenced an investigation in England,
the matter might be left to him. But he only replied :
" Hartwig is head of the criminal police. He there-
fore has little, if any, knowledge of the revolutionaries.
No, Tre^vinnard. This is essentially a matter for
I bit my Hps, for next second the white-enamelled
steel door of that bomb-proof room in which v/e were
standing was thrown * open, and a chamberlain an-
" His Excellency General Sei'ge Markoff ! "
THE EMPEROR'S FAVOURITE
For a second the famous chief of Secret Police turned
his cunning, steel-blue eyes upon mine and bowed
slightly, after making obeisance to His Majesty.
THE PRICE OF POWER 225
" Why, I believed, Mr. Trewinnard, that you were
still in Siberia ! " he said with a crafty smile. Though
my bitterest enemy, he always feigned the greatest
" Trewinnard has just revealed a very painful and
serious fact, Markoff," exclaimed the Emperor, in ^
deep, earnest voice. " Her Highness the Grand Duchess
Natalia has disappeared."
The General gave no sign of sui-prise.
" It has already been reported to us," was his calm
answer. " I have not reported it, in turn, to Your
Majesty, fearing to cause undue alarm. Both here and
in England we are instituting every possible inquiry-."
" Another plot," I remarked, with considerable
sarcasm, I fear.
" Probably," was His Excellency's reply, as he turned
to His Imperial Master, and in that fawning voice of
his, added : " Your Majesty may rest assured that if
Her Highness be alive she will be found, wherever she
Hatred — hatred most intense — arose within my
heart as I glanced at the sinister face of the favourite
before me, the man who had deliberately ordered the
commission of that crime which had resulted in the
death of the Emperor's brother, the Grand Duke
Nicholas. To his orders had been due that exciting
episode in which I had so nearly lost my life in Siberia ;
at his orders, too, poor Marya de Rosen had been de-
liberately sent to her grave ; and at his orders had been
planned the conspiracy against the Grand Duchess
which Danilo Danilovitch had intended to carr>' into
execution, and would no doubt have done, had he not
been prevented by Hartwig's boldness.
I longed to turn and denounce him before his Imperial
Master. Indeed, hot, angry words were upon my lips,
but I suppressed them. No ! The time was not yet
226 THE PRICE OF POWER
ripe. Natalia herself had promised to make the revela-
tions, and to her I must leave them.
I must find her — and then.
" Ah ! " exclaimed His Majesty, well pleased. " I
knew that 3'ou would be already informed, Markoff.
You know ever^^thing. Nothing which affects my
family ever escapes you."
" r hope not, Sire.^ I trust I may ever be permitted
to display my loyalty and gratitude for the confidence
which Your ilajesty sees fit to repose in me."
" To your astuteness, Markoff, I have owed my life
a score of times," the Emperor declared. " I have
alreadv acknowledged your devoted services. Now
make haste and discover the whereabouts of my hare-
brained little niece, Tattie, for the Httle \^itch is utterly
Markoff, pale and hard-faced, was silent for a moment.
Then with a strange expression upon his grey, deceitful
countenance he said : »
" Perhaps I should inform Your Majesty of one point
which to-day was reported to us from England — namely,
that it is believed that Her Highness has fled with —
w^ell, with a lover — a certain young Englishman."
" A lover ! " roared the Emperor, his face instantly
white with anger. " Another lover ! Who is he,
pray ? "
""^His name is Richard Drur}-," His Excellency
" Then the girl has created an open scandal ! The
English and French newspapers will get hold of it,
and we shall have detailed accounts of the elopement —
eh ? " he cried excitedly. " This, Markoff, is really -too
much ! " Then turning to me he asked : " What do
you know of this young Drur\^ ? TeU me, Trewinnard."
" Very little. Sire, except that he is her friend, and
that he is in ignorance of her true station."
THE PRICE OF PO\\TER 227
" But are they in love with each other ? " he de-
manded in a hard voice. " Have you neglected my
instructions and allowed clandestine meetings — eh ? "
" Unfortunately my journey across Siberia pre-
vented my exercising due vigilance," I faltered. " Yet
she gave me her word of honour that she would form
no male attachment."
" Bosh ! " he cried angrily, as he crossed the room.
" No girl can resist faUing in love with a man if he is
good-looking and a gentleman — at least, no girl of
Tattle's high spirits and disregard for the convenances.
You were a fool, Trewinnard, to accept the girl's word."
" I believed in the honour of a lady," I said in mild
reproach, " and especially as the lady was a Romanoff."
" The Romanoff women are as prone to fhrtation as
any commoner of the same sex," he declared hastily.
" Markoff knows of more than one scandal which has
had to be faced and crushed out during the last five
years. But this fellow Drury," he added impatiently,
" who is he ? "
In a few brief sentences I told him what I knew
" You think they have fallen in love ? "
" I am fully convinced of it. Sire."
" Therefore they may have eloped ! Tattle's dis-
appearance may have no connection with any revolu-
tionary plot — eh ? "
" It may not. But upon that point I am quite un-
decided," was my reply.
" Let me hear your views, Markoff," said the Em-
" I believe that Her Highness has fallen the victim of
a plot," was his quick reply. " The man Drur}- may
have shared the same fate.'^
" Fate ! " he echoed. " Do you anticipate, then,
that the girl is dead ? "
228 THE PRICE OF PO^\^R
" Ala5, Sire ! If she has fallen into the hands of the
revolutionists, then without doubt she is dead," was the
cunning official's reply.
Was he revealing to his Imperial Master a fact that
he knew ? Was he preparing the Emperor for the
receipt of bad news ?
I glanced at his grey, coarse, sphinx-like counte-
nance, and felt convinced that such was the case. Had
she, after all, fallen a victim of his craft and cunning,
and were her lips sealed for ever ?
I stood there staring at the pair, the Emperor and
his all-powerful favourite, like a man in a dream. Sud-
denly I roused myself with the determination that I
would leave no stone unturned to unmask this man and
reveal him in his true light to the Sovereign who had
trusted him so complacently, and had been so ingeniously
blinded and misled by this arch-adventurer, to whose
evil machinations the "death of so many innocent persons
" Then you are not certain whether, after all, it is an
elopement ? " asked the Emperor, glancing at him a
few moments later. And turning impatiently to me
he said in reproach : " I gave her into your hands,
Trev-innard. You promised me solemnly to exercise
aU necessary \dgilance in order to prevent a repetition
of that affair in Mosco\^', when the madcap was about
to run away to London. Yet you relaxed 3'our \agilance
and she has escaped while you have been on your wild-
goose chase through Siberia."
" With greatest respect to your Majesty, I humbly
submit that my mission was no wild-goose chase. It
concerned a woman's honour and her liberty," and I
glanced at ^larkoff's grey, imperturbable countenance.
" But the unfortunate lady was sent to her death —
purposely killed by exhaustion and exposure, ere I
could reach Yakutsk."
THE PRICE OF POWER 229
" She was a dangerous person," the General snapped,
with a smile of sarcasm.
" Yes," I said in a hard, bitter voice. " She was
marked as such upon the list of exiles — and treated as
such — treated in a manner that no woman is treated
in any other country which calls itself Christian ! "
I saw displeasure written upon the Emperor's face,
therefore I apologized for my outburst.
" It ill becomes you, an Englishman, to criticize our
penal system, Trewinnard," the Emperor remarked in
quiet rebuke. " And, moreover, we are not discussing
it. Madame de Rosen conspired against my life and
she is dead. Therefore the question is closed."
" I believe when Your Majesty comes to ascertain
the truth — the actual truth," I said, glancing meaningly
at Markoff, who was then standing before the
Sovereign, his hands clasped behind his back, " that
you will discover some curious connection between the
death of Mar^^a de Rosen in the Yakutsk prison and
the disappearance and probable death of Her Imperial
Highness the Grand Duchess Natalia."
" What do you mean ? " he asked, staring at me in
" For answer," I said, " I m.ust, with great respect,
direct Your Majesty to His Excellency General Markoff,
who is aware of all that concerns the Imperial family.
He probably knows the truth regarding the strange
disappearance of the young lady, and what connection
it has with Madame de Rosen's untimely end."
" I really do not understand you," cried the renowned
chief of Secret Police, drawing himself up suddenly.
" What do you infer ? "
" His Majesty is anxious to learn the truth," I said,
looking straight into those cunning blue eyes of his.
" Your Excellency, a loyal and dutiful subject, wiU, I
trust, now make full revelation of what has really
230 THE PRICE OF POWER
happened during the past twelve months, and what secret
tie existed between Her Highness and Mar^^a de Rosen."
His face went white as paper. But only for a single
second. He alwa5's preserved the most marvellous
"I do not follow your meaning," he declared.
" Madame de Rosen's death was surely no concern of
mine. Many other politicals have died on their way to
the Arctic settlements."
" You speak in enigmas, Trewinnard. Pray be more
exphcit," the Emperor urged.
I could see that my words had suddenly aroused his
intense curiosity, although well aware of the antagonism
in which I held the dreaded oppressor of Holy Russia.
" I regret, Your Majesty, that I cannot be more ex-
plicit," I said. " His Excellency will reveal the truth
— a strange truth. If not, I myself will do so. But
not, however, to-day. His Excellency must be afforded
an opportunity of explaining circumstances of which he
is aware. Therefore I humbly beg to withdraw."
And I crossed to the door and bowed low.
" As you wish, Trewinnard," answered the Emperor
impatiently, as with a wave of the hand he indicated
that my audience was at an end.
So as I backed out, bo\Wng a second time, and while
Markoff stood there in statuesque silence, his face livid,
I added in a clear voice :
" Ask His Excellency for the truth — the disgraceful
truth ! He alone knows. Let him find Her Imperial
Highness — if he can — if he dare ! "
Then I opened the door and made my exit, full of
wonder at what might occur when the pair were alone.
THE PRICE OF POWER 231
PRESENTS ANOTHER PROBLEM
Ox returning to Petersburg that evening and entering
the Embassy, I found a telegram from Hartwig, sum-
moning me back to London immediately. There were
no details, only the words : " Return here at once."
All my letters to the club I had ordered to be sent to
him during my absence, so I wondered whether he had
received any communication from the missing pair.
With the knowledge that any telegrams to me would be
copied and sent to the Bureau of Secret Police, he had
wisely omitted any reason for my return to London. I
sent him, through the Bureau of Detective PoHce, the
message to wire me details to the Esplanade Hotel in
Berlin, and at midnight left by the ordinary train for
the German frontier.
Four eager anxious days I spent on that never-ending
journey between the Neva and the Channel. At Berlin,
on calling at the hotel, I received no word from him,
only when I entered the St. James's Club at five o'clock
on the afternoon of my arrival at Charing Cross did I
find him awaiting me.
" Well," I asked anxiously, as I entered the square
hall of the club, " what news ? "
" She's alive," he said. " She saw your advertise-
ment and has replied ! "
*' Thank heaven ! " I gasped. " Where is she ? "
" Here is the address," and he drew from his pocket-
book a slip of paper, with the words written in Natalia's
own hand : " Miss Stebbing, Glendevon House, Loch-
earnhead, Perthshire." And with it he handed the note
wliich had come to the club and which he had opened —
232 THE PRICE OF POWER
a few brief words merely enclosing her address and tell-
ing me to exercise the greatest caution in approaching
her, " I have been watched by very suspicious persons,"
she added, " and so I am in hiding here. When you
can come, do so. I am extremely anxious to see you."
" Wliat do you make of that ? " I asked the famous
"That she scented dan,ger and escaped," he repHed.
*' My first intention was to go up to Scotland to see her,
but on reflection I thought, sir, that you might prefer
to go alone."
" I do. I shall leave Euston by the mail to-night
and shall be there to-morrow morning. She has, I see
assumed another name."
" Yes, and she has certainly gone to an outlandish
spot where no one would have thought of searching for
" Drury suggested it, without a doubt. He knows
Scotland so well," I said.
Therefore yet another night I spent in a sleeping-car
between Euston and Perth, eating scones for breakfast
in the Station Hotel at the latter place, and leaving an
hour later by way of Crieff and St. Fillans, to the
beautiful bank of Loch Earn, lying calm and blue in the
At the farther end of the loch the train halted at the
tiny station of Lochearnhead, a small collection of
houses at the end of the picturesque little lake, where
the green wooded banks sloped to the water's edge.
Quiet, secluded, and far from the bustle of town or city
it was. I found a rural little lake-side \aQage, with a
post-office and general shop combined, and a few charm-
ing old-world cottages inhabited by sturdy, homely
Of a brown-whiskered shepherd passing near the
station I inquired for Glendevon House, whereupon he
THE PRICE OF POWER 233
pointed to a big white count n^ mansion high upon the
hill-side, commanding a wide view across the loch and
surrounding hills ; a house hemmed in by tall firs, fresh
in their bright spring green.
A quarter of an hour later, having climbed the wind-
ing road leading to it, I entered the long drive flanked
by rhododendrons, and was approaching the house when,
across the lawn a slim female figure, in a white cotton
gown, with a crimson flower in the corsage, came flying
toward me, crying :
"Uncle Colin! Uncle Colin! At last!"
And a moment later Natalia wrung my hand warmly,
her cheeks flushed with pleasure at our encounter.
" Whatever is the meaning of this latest escapade ? "
I asked. " You've given ever\'body a pretty fright, I
can tell you."
" I know, Uncle Cohn. But you'll forgive me, won't
you ? Say you do," she urged.
" I can't before I know what has really happened."
" Let's go over to that seat," she suggested, pointing
to a rustic bench set invitingly on the lawn beneath a
spreading oak, " and I'll tell you everything."
Then as we walked across the lawn she regarded me
critically and said : " How thin you are 1 How very
travel- worn you look ! "
" Ah ! " I sighed. " I've been a good many thousand
miles since last I saw Your Highness."
" I know. And how is poor Mar^-a ? You found
her, of course."
" Alas ! " I said in a low voice, " I did not. My
journey was of no avail. She died a few hours before
my arrival in Yakutsk ! "
" Died in Yakutsk," she echoed in a hoarse wliisper
halting and looking at me. " Poor Mary a dead 1 And
Luba ? "
" Luba is well, but still in prison."
234 THE PRICE OF POWER
" Dead ! " repeated the girl, speaking to herself, " and
so your long winter jou^piey was all in vain ! "
" Utterly useless," I said. " Then, on returning
to London a fortnight ago, I learned that you had
mysteriously disappeared. I have been back to Peters-
burg and informed the Emperor."
" And what did he say ? Was he at all anxious ? "
she asked quickly.
"It is knowTi that Dmry has also disappeared, and
therefore His Majesty believes that you have fled
" So we did, but it was not an elopement. No, dear
old Uncle Colin, \'ou needn't be horribly scandalized. Mrs.
Holbrook, the o^vn.eT of this place, is Dick's aunt, and he
brought me here so that I might hide from my enemies."
" Then where is he ? "
" Staying at the hotel over at St. Fillans, at the other
end of the loch, under the name of Gregory. Fortunately^
his aunt has only recently bought this place, so he has
never been here before. She is extremely kind to me."
" Then you often see Drur\^ — eh ? "
" Oh, yes, we spend each day together. Dick comes
over by the eleven o'clock train. It is such fun — much
better than Brighton."
" But the London police are searching everywhere
for you both," I said.
" This is a long way from London," she replied with
a bright laugh ; " they are not likely to find us, nor are
those bitter enemies of ours."
" What enemies ? "
" The revolutionists. There is a desperate plot
against me. Of that I am absolute^ convinced," she
said as she sank upon the rustic garden seat beneath
the tree. The sunny view over loch and woodland was
delightful, and the pretty garden and fir wood surround-
ing were full of birds singing their morning song.
THE PRICE OF POWER 235
" But you told neither Hartwig nor Dmitri of your
fears," I remarked. " Why not ? " and I looked straight
into her beautiful face, lit by the brilliant sunshine.
" Well, I will tell you, Uncle Colin," she said, leaning
back, putting her neat little brown shoe forth from the
hem of her white gown, and folding her bare arms as
she turned to me. " Dick one day discovered that
wherever we went we were followed by Dmitri, and,
as you may imagine, I had considerable difficulty in
explaining his constant presence. But Dick loves
me, and hence believes every word I tell him. He "
" I know, you little minx," I interrupted reprovingly,
" you've bewitched him. I only fear lest your mutual
love may lead to unhappiness."
" That's just it. I don't know exactly what will
happen when he learns who I really am."
" He must be told veiy soon," I said ; " but go on,
explain what happened."
" Ah ! no," cried the girl in quick alarm : " you
must not tell him. He must not know. If so, it means
our parting, and — and " she faltered, her big,
expressive eyes ghstened with unshed tears. " Well
— you know. Uncle Colin — you know how fondly I
" Yes, I know, my child," I sighed. " But continue,
tell me all about your disappearance and its motive."
Now that I had found her I saw to what desperate
straights Markoff must be reduced. He had, after all,
no knowledge of her whereabouts.
" It was like this," she said. " One evening we had
walked along the cHffs to Rottingdean together.
Dmitri had not followed us, or else he had missed us
before we left Brighton. But just as we were coming
down the hiU, after passing that big girls' college, Dick
noticed that we were being followed by a man, who he
decided was a foreigner. He was, I saw, a thin-faced
236 THE PRICE OF POWER
man with a black moustache and deeply furrowed brow,
and then I recognized him as a man whom I had seen
on several previous occasions. I recollected that he
followed us that night on the pier when you first saw
Dick walking with Doctor Ingram."
"A man of middle height, undoubtedly a Russian,"
I cried. " I remember him distinctly. His name is
Danilo Danilovitch — a most dangerous person."
" Ah ! " she exclaimed, " I see you know him. Well,
at the moment I was not at all alarmed, but next day
I received an anonymous letter telling me to exercise
every precaution. There was a revolutionary plot to
kill me. It was intended to kill both Dick and myself.
I showed him the letter. At first he was puzzled to
know why the revolutionary party should seek to
assassinate a mere girl like myself, but again he accepted
my explanation that it was in revenge for some action
of my late father, and eventually we resolved to dis-
appear together and remain in hiding imtil you returned.
Then, according to what Mar3^a de Rosen had told you,
I intended to act."
" Alas! I learnt nothing."
" Ah ! " she sighed. " That is the unfortunate point.
I am undecided now how to act."
" Explain how 3^ou managed to elude Dmitri's
vigilance in Eastbourne."
'* WeU, on that evening in Eastbourne I induced
]\Iiss West, Gladys Finlay and Dmitri to walk on fb
the station, and I entered a shop. W^hen I came out,
Dick joined me. W'e shpped round a comer, and after
hurrying through a number of back streets found cur-
selves again on the Esplanade. We walked along to
Pevensey, whence that night we took train to Hastings,
and arrived in London just before eleven. At mid-
night we left Euston for Scotland, and next morning
found ourselves in hiding here.. I was awfully sorry
THE PRICE OF POWER 237
,o give Ix>or ^^^Zo^i^^t^.X^ Sfth tX^
Hartwg would ^e '""^•i"! f^^J^^,^ and lie quite low
me But I thought It best to escap ^^^^^ to
rkS CoriatJ.rSw, ho£g that ,ou .ight
"ceive the message as y°« P=^|^^V„^3rw'^and did not
.a'v^ rstatn*?''" ^^^ '"ote^^se I. no doubt.
Should have received It daneerous," she
"^°. T'^T^e fe J PoUcrare^^^^^^^ with
?cr-'otall tel'gramr^ming from abroad, and Markoff
'^ Ji^«ub? he\^"l said •• As you well taow he
iJ^^^ S^yo^a^ ar^e- Jo^ies^ot his
1^ ^Ift. n'Xwdedd°ed that.I, too. must ^
^'^^.rZ therefore it now remains for Your High-
'*' fSloBA. Dick ! " she asW pr«n.ly m .^o.
238 THE PRICE OF POWER
I sighed. And of a sudden, ere I was aware of ii-
There, at her side I sat utterly at a loss what to
say in order to mitigate her distress; for ^0^611 I
knew that the pair loved each other tAily nay madJv
th^SUest fa'^i}""' % '° ^™P^"^^ Gra^ndTuch^f ri
tne greatest family m Europe is ust as intense iust i=i
passionate just as fervent as that of a comminerM
she only a typist, a seamstress, or a serving-mTw Tie
same feelings, the same emotions, the same passionate
longings and tenderness; the same loving heart befts
Of thf 'pletiar^'^ °^- ''' '=^*--" - '--t^ '^^
You, my friendly readers, each of vou— be vou n-an
Invr^T"' ^°^^ *°-^"y' °^ ^^^'^ l°^'«d long ago Your
love IS human, your affection firm, strong Ld undvhg
drffenng in no particular to the emotions expmS
bLdX'af " *'^ ^°"^«^ ^' ^'^^ P"-- °f ^he
sidV°.°r,Hl,i** *^' little figure on the rustic seat at mv
side and aU my sympathy went out to her
I Ltra|if Xt ihf s^ff^d,'^:;:^' z;^^^^^
'SSi^^'^^^^^ °^ ^ her hopef^f^^uXT
thf^unwritten"?™"'?l*'''V^'''"*e'* ^'n pronomiced by
tne unwntten law of her Imperial circle. She lovei a
roTthe 'deo Jed^t° '°'^''f;u'° ^^^^"^ ^^ save her nafion
trom the depredations of that unscrupulous camarJla
the Council of Mimsters, would mean to her the abandon-'
Sid *de votedl^'"?.^ Englishman she loved so intensery
ana devotedly— the sacrifice, alas ! of aU she held nost
dear in life by the betrayal of her identity.
THE PRICE OF POWER ^ 239
REVEALS THE GULF
H VING been introduced to Mrs. Holbrook-a pleasajit-
fa^d oW la%^ in a white laced cap with mauve nbbon.
taced oia iaa> m ^^ Stebbing " to leave, and took
— made excuse to .^Usb sieuuuig ^ Kili^in^
'IcaM'atThfhotel and inquired for Mr. Gregoo,.
bu was informed that he was out ^hing But though
I Imched there and waited tiU evening, yet he did not
'^ &°again I took train back to Locheamhead, and with
thegoX sunset flashing upon the loch chmbed^he
hiUpath towards Glendevon House-a nearer cut han
%iddenSi: rfurned the corner, I saw two figures
goirg on b^efore me-Natalia and Richard Dn-ry . She
wor' a darker gown than in the momuig, with^imple
C^kabout country hat, whUe he had on a rough tweed
^tet and breeches. I drew back quickly when I
recSnized them. His arm was tenderly around her
waiTas they walked, and he was bending to her
Tpeiking softly, as with slow steps they ascended through
"'^S'lheVTere indeed a handsome, well-matched
pak 'But I held my breath, foreseeing the tragic
grief which must ere long ansa as the result of that
240 THE PRICE OF POWER
Standing well back in the liedge, I gazed after the^
w'hV^'*'"S'*'Pt**^'^^' ^^entupthat unfrequented
paused LTIy. ™"^'' ^"d grass-grown. Suddenly the.
paused, and the man, believing that they were alon^
back her hal t'd"'^ '" .^'J ^*^°"§ emb'^ace, pushed
Dack her hat, and imprinted a warm, passionate kss
upon her white, open brow. pisMonate Kss
Perhaps it was impohte to watch. I suppose it wa •
yet my sympathy was entirely with th^em I wto
had once loved and experienced a poignant sorrovTis
Spe cialfv" now'th fV''''' l^^'^ '''' ^' that'mrei
ebpecially now that the girl, even though an Imperal
Princess, was compelled to decide between tove^^d
Unseen, I watched them cling to each other exchai--
Ihf d°a"rk I'Tr'' T'''"'- ' '^'^ '^i'" tenderiy P ^h
the dark ha r from her eyes and again place his lot
hps reverently to her brow. He held her small hmd
and ioofang straight into her wonderful eyes "aw trfth
Jionesty and pure affection mirrored there '
hAj ^ i'l^'"!- ''^'^^'^ ^^"^ evening 'shadows fell
he had placed his hand lightly upon he? shoulder nd
was whispering m her ear, speaking words of passiorate
affection, in ignorance that between them alas° lav
a barrier of b rth which could never be bribed ' ^
I felt myself a sneak and an eavesdroppir ■ bit I
assure you It was with no idle curiosity-^nly becfuse
vhat I had witnessed aroused within me the nost
intense sorrow, because I knew that onlv a man's real
fw^n/ TT'"! ^'°^''' '^'^^^t ^0""W accrue fom
that most unfortunate attachment
\-it"lti' t^ "'"'■''^ ^ '"-'■'^ "° -''^ " g^«^t« respect taan
Natalia, the unconventional daughter of proud Imomal
Romanoffs Indeed, I regarded lier with consiSe
ahection, If the truth were told. She had charmed m
by her natural gaiety of heart, her disregard for kksom
THE PRICE OF POWER 241
etiquette and her plain outspokenness. She was a
typical outdoor girl. What the end of her affection
for Dick Drury would be I dreaded to anticipate.
Again he bent, and kissed her upon the lips, her
sweet face raised to his, aglow in the crimson sunset.
He had clasped her tenderly to his heart, holding
her there in his strong arms, while he rained his hot,
fervent kisses upon her, and she stood in inert ecstasy.
Soon the shadows dechned, yet the pair still stood
there in silent enjoyment of their passionate love, all
unconscious of observation. I drew a long breath.
Had I not myself long ago drunk the cup ox happiness
to the very dregs, just as Dick Drury was now drinking
it — and ever since, throughout my whole career in those
gay Court circles in foreign cities, I had been obsessed
by a sad and bitter remembrance. She had married
a peer, and was now a great lady in London society.
Her pretty face often looked out at me from the illus-
trated papers, for she was one of England's leading
hostesses, and mentioned daily in the " personal "
Once she had sent me an invitation to a shooting-
party at her fine castle in Yorkshire. The irony of
it all ! I had declined in three lines of formal thanks.
Ah ! yes. No man knew the true depths of grief
and despair better than myself, therefore, surely, no
man was more fitted to sympathize with that hand-
some couple, clasped, at that moment in each other's
I turned back ; I could endure it no longer, fore-
seeing tragedy as I did.
Descending the hill to the loch-side again, I found
the carriage road, and approached the big white house.
I was standing alone in the long, old-fashioned draw-
ing-room, with its bright chintzes and bowls of pot-
pourri, awaiting Mrs. Holbrook, when the merry pair
242 THE PRICE OF POWER
came in through the long French windows, from the
" Why, Uncle Colin ! " she gasped, starting and
staring at me. " How long have ^-ou been here ? "
" Only a few moments," I replied, and then, advanc-
ing, I shook Drury's hand. He looked a fine, handsome
fellow in his rough country tweeds.
" So glad to meet you again, Mr. Trewinnard," he
said frankly, a smile upon his healthy, bronzed face.
" I've heard from Miss Gottorp of your long journey
across Siberia. You've been away months — ever since
the beginning of the winter ! I've always had a morbid
longing to see Siberia. It must be a most dreadful place."
" Well, it's hardly a country for pleasure-seeking,"
I laughed ; then changing my tone, I said : " You
two have given me a nice fright ! I returned to find
you both missing, and feared lest something awful had
happened to you."
" Fear of something happening caused us to dis-
appear," he answered ; then he practically repeated
what Natalia had told me earlier in the day. " My
aunt very kindly offered to put Miss Gottorp up, and
I have since lived down at St. Fillans under the name
I told him of the search in progress in order to dis-
cover him. But he declared that a Scotch village
or the back streets of a manufacturing town were the
safest places in which to conceal oneself.
" But how long do you two intend causing anxiety
to your friends ? " I asked, glancing from one to the other.
Natalia looked at her lover with wide-open eyes of
" Who knows ? " she asked. " Dick has to decide
" But Miss West and Dave\7, and all of them at
Hove are distracted," I said, and then, turning to
THE PRICE OF POWER 243
Drury, added, *' Your man in Albemarle Street and
the people at your offices in Westminster are satisfied
that you've met with foul play. You certainly ought
to relieve their minds by making some sign."
" I must, soon," he said. " But meanwhile " and
he turned his eyes upon his well-beloved meaningly.
" Meanwhile, you are both perfectly happy — eh ? "
*' Now don't lecture us, Uncle Colin ! " cried the
little madcap, leaning over the back of a chair and
holding up her finger threateningly ; and then to Dick
she added : " Oh ! you don't know how horrid my
wicked uncle can be when he likes. He says such
" When my niece deserves them — and only then,"
I assured her lover.
Though Dick Drury was in trade a builder of ships,
as his father before him, he was one of nature's gentle-
men. There was nothing of the modem young man,
clean-shaven, over-dressed, with tumed-up trousers
and bright socks. He was tall, lithe, strong, well and
neatly dressed as became a man in his station — a man
with an income of more than ten thousand a year, as
I had already secretly ascertained.
Had not Natalia been of Imperial birth the match
would have been a most suitable one, for Dick Drury
was decidedly one of the eligibles. But her love was,
alas ! forbidden, and marriage with a commoner not
to be thought of.
They stood together laughing merrily, he bright,
pleasant, and all unconscious of her true station, while
she, sweet and winning, stood gazing upon him, flushed
with pleasure at his presence.
I was describing to Drury the fright I had experienced
on arrival in Brighton to find them both missing,
whereupon he interrupted, saying :
" I hope you will forgive us in the circumstances.
244 THE PRICE OF POWER
Mr. Trewinnard. Miss Gottorp resolved to go into
hiding until you returned to give her your advice.
Therefore, with my aunt's kind assistance, we managed
to disappear completely."
" My advice is quickly given," I said. " After
to-night there will be no danger, therefore return and
relieve the anxiety of your friends."
" But how can you guarantee there is no danger ? "
asked the young man, looking at me dubiously. " I
confess I'm at a loss to understand the true meaning of
it all — wh3^ indeed, any danger should arise. Miss
Gottorp is so mysterious, she will tell me nothing," he
said in a voice of complaint.
For a moment I was silent.
" There was a danger, Drury — a real imminent
danger," I said at last. " But I can assure you that
it is now past. I have taken steps to remove it, and
hope to-morrow morning to receive word by telegraph
that it no longer exists."
" How can you control it ? " he queried. " What is
its true nature ? Tell me," he urged.
" No, I regret that I cannot satisfy your curiosity.
It is — well — it's a famil}- matter," I said ; " therefore
forgive me if I refuse to betray a confidence reposed in
me as a friend of the family. It would not be fair to
reveal an^'thing told me in secrecy."
" Of course not," he said. " I fuUy understand, Mr.
Trewinnard. Forgive me for asking. I did not know
that the matter was so entirely confidential."
" It is. But I can assure you that, holding the key
to the situation as I do, and being in a position to dictate
terms to Miss Gottorp 's enemies, she need not in
future entertain the slightest apprehension. The
danger existed, I admit ; but now it is over."
" Then you advise us to return. Uncle Colin ? "
exclaimed the girl, swa3''ing herself upon the chair.
THE PRICE OF POWER 245
" Yes — the day after to-morrow."
" You are always so weirdly mysterious," she declared.
" I know you have something at the back of your
mind. Come, admit it."
" I have only your welfare at heart," I assured her,
" Welfare ! " she echoed, and as her eyes fixed them-
selves upon me she bit her lips. I knew, alas ! the
bitter trend of her thoughts. But her lover stood by,
all unconscious of the blow which must ere long fall
upon him, poor fellow. I pitied him, for I knew how
much he was doomed to suffer, loving her so fondly and
so well. He, of course, believed her to be a girl of
similar social position to himself — a dainty little frien(3
whom he had first met as a rather gawky schoolgirl at
Eastbourne, and their friendship had now ripened to
" I feel that you, Mr. Trewinnard, really have our
welfare at heart," declared the young man earnestly.
"I know in what very high esteem Miss Gottorp holds you,
and how she has been awaiting your aid and advice."
" I am her friend, Drury, as I am yours," I declared.
" I am aware that you love each other. I loved once,
just as deeply, as fervently as you do. Therefore — I
" But we cannot go south — back to Brighton," the
girl declared. " I refuse."
" Why ? " he asked. " Mr. Trewinnard has given
us the best advice. You need not now fear these
mysterious enemies of yours who seem to haunt you
" Ah ! " she cried in a low, wild voice, " you do not
know, Dick ! You don't know the truth — all that I
fear — all that I suffer — for — for your sake ! Uncle
" For my sake ! " he echoed, staring at her. " I
don't quite follow you. What do you mean ? "
246 THE PRICE OF POWER
" I mean," she exclaimed in a low, hoarse voice,
drawing herself up and standing erect, " I mean that
you do not know what Uncle Colin is endeavouring to
induce me to do — you do not reaUze the true tragedy
of my position."
" No, I don't," was his blunt response, his eyes wide
open in surprise.
" Oh, Dick," she cried in despair, her voice trembUng
with emotion, " he speaks the truth when he urges me
for my own sake to go south — to return again to Hove.
But, alas ! if I followed his advice, sound though it is,
it would mean that — that to-morrow we should part
for ever ! "
" Part ! " gasped the young man, his face becoming
white in an instant. " Why ? "
" Because — well, simply because all affection between
us is forbidden," she faltered in a hoarse, half whisper,
her beautiful face ashen pale, " because — " she gasped,
still clinging to the back of the chintz-covered chair,
*' because, although we love each other as passionately
and as dearly as we do, we can never marry — never !
Between us there exists a barrier — a barrier strong but
invisible, that can never be broken — never — until the
grave ! "
THE PAINFUL TRUTH
With Her Highness's permission I had despatched a
reassuring telegram in the private cipher to the Emperor
prefLxed by the word " Bathildis " — a message which,
I think, greatly puzzled the local postmaster at Loch-
eamhead. Another I had sent to Miss West, and then
returned to the small hotel at the loch-side where I
intended to spend the night.
THE PRICE OF POWER 247
I had left the pair together, and strolled out across
the lawn. Of what happened aftervv'ards I was in
ignorance. The girl had come in search of me a quarter
of an hour later, pale, trembling and tearful, and in a
broken voice told me that they had parted.
I took her soft little hand, and looking straight into
her eyes asked :
" Does he know the truth ? "
She shook her head slowly in the negative.
" I — I have resolved to return to Russia," she said
simply, in a faltering voice.
" To see the Emperor ? " I asked eagerly. " To tell
him the truth — eh ? "
Her white lips were compressed. She only drew a
long, deep breath.
" Dick has gone," she said at last, in a strange,
dreamy voice. " And — and I must go back again to
all the horrible dreariness and formality of the life to
which, I suppose, I was bom. Ah ! Uncle Colin — I
— I can't tell you how I feel. My happiness is all at an
end — for ever."
"Come, come," I said, placing my hand tenderly
upon the girl's shoulder. " You will go back to Peters-
burg — and you will learn to forget. We all of us have
similar disappointments, similar sorrows. I, too, have
But she only shook her head, bursting into tears as
she slowly disengaged herself from me.
Then, with head sunk upon her chest in blank despair
and sobbing bitterly, she turned from me, and in th^
clear, crimson afterglow, went slowly back up the garden-
path to the house.
I stood gazing upon her slim, dejected figure until
it was lost around the bend of the laurels. Then I
retraced my steps towards the little lake-side village.
At ten o'clock that night, while writing a letter in
248 THE PRICE OF POWER
the small hotel sitting-room, Richard Dniry was
His face was paler than usual, hard and set.
He apologized for disturbing me at that hour, but
I offered him a chair and handed him my cigarette-
case. His boots were very dusty, I noticed ; therefore
I surmised that since leaving his well-beloved he had
been tramping the roads.
" I am much puzzled, Mr. Trewinnard," he blurted
forth a moment later. " Miss Gottorp has suddenly
sent me from her and refused to see me again."
" That is to be much regretted," I said. " Before
I left I heard her declare that there were certain cir-
cumstances which rendered it impossible for you to
marry. I therefore know that your interview this
evening must have been a painful one."
" Painful ! " he echoed wildly. " I love her, Mr.
Trewinnard ! I confess it to you, because you are her
friend, and mine."
" I honestly believe you do, Drury. But," I sighed,
" yours is, I fear, an unfortunate — a very unfortunate
I was debating within myself whether or not it were
wise to reveal to him Natalia's identity. Surely no
good could now accrue from further secrecy, especiall}^
as she had resolved to return at once to Russia.
I saw how agitated the poor fellow was, and how
deep and fervent was his affection for the girl who,
after all, was sacrificing her great love to perform a
duty to her oppressed nation and to avenge the lives
of thousands of her innocent compatriots.
"Yes. I know that my affection for her is an
unfortunate one," he said, in a thick voice. " She
has talked strangely about this barrier between us, and
how that marriage is not permitted to her. It is all
so mysterious, so utterly incomprehensible, Mr. Trewin.
THE PRICE OF POWER 249
nard. She is concealing something. She has some
secret, and I feel sure that you, as an intimate friend of
her family, are aware of it." Then after a slight pause
he grew calm and, looking me straight in the face,
asked : " May I not know it ? Will you not tell me
the truth ? "
" Wliy should I, Drun*, when the truth must only
cause you pain ? " I queried. " You have suffered
enough already. WTiy not go away and forget ? Time
heals most broken hearts."
" It will never heal mine," he declared, adding :
" Her words this evening have greatly puzzled me. I
cannot see why we may not marr}'. She has no parents,
I understand.^ Yet how is it that she seems eternally
watche(i by certain suspicious-looking foreigners ? Why
is her life— and even mine — threatened as it is ? "
For a few moments I did not speak. My eyes were
fixed upon his strong, handsome face, tanned as it v.-as
by healthy exercise.
" " If you wish to add to your grief by ascertaining
the truth, Drury, I will tell you," I said quietly.
" Yes," he cried. " Tell me — I can bear anything
now. Tell me why she refuses any longer to allow me
at her side — I who love her so devotedly."
" Her decision is only a just one," I replied. " It
must cause you deep grief, I know, but it is better for
you to be made aware of the truth at once, for she knew
that a great and poignant sorrow must faU upon you
both one day."
" Why ? " he asked, still p'jzzled and leaning in his
chair towards me.
" Because the woman you love — whom you know-
as Miss Gottorp — has never yet revealed her true
identity to you."
"Ah ! I see ! " he cried, starting to his feet. " I guess
what you are going to say. She— she is already married ! "
250 THE PRICE OF POWER
" Thank God for that ! " he gasped. " Well, tell
Again I paused, my eyes fixed steadily upon his.
" Her true name is not Gottorp. She is Her Imperial
Higliness the Grand Duchess Natalia Olga Nicolaievna
of Russia, niece of His Majesty the Emperor ! "
The man before me stared at me with open mouth
in blank amazement.
" The Grand Duchess Natalia ! " he echoed.
" Impossible ! "
" It is true," I went on. " At Eastbourne, in her
school-days, she was known as Miss Gottorp — which is
one of the family names of the Imperial Romanoffs —
and on her return to Brighton she resumed that name.
The suspicious-looking foreigners who have puzzled you
,by haunting her so continuously are agents of Russian
police, attached to her for her personal protection ;
while the threats against her have emanated from the
Revolutionary' Party. And," I added, " you can surely
now see the existence of the barrier between you — you
can discern why, at last, foreseeing tragedy in her love
for you, Her Highness has summoned courage and, even
though it has broken her heart, has resolved to part
from you in order to spare you further anxiety and
For some monents he did not speak.
" Her family have discovered her friendship, I sup-
pose," he murmured at last, in a low, despairing voice.
" Her family have not influenced her in the leaist,"
I assured him. " She told me the truth that she
could not deceive you any longer, or allow you to build
up false hopes, knowing as she did that you could never
become her husband."
" Ah ! my God ! all this is cruel, Mr. Trewinnard ! "
he burst forth, with clenched hands. "I have all
THE PRICE OF POWER 251
along believed her to be a girl of the upper middle-
class, like myself. I never dreamed of her real rank
or birth which precluded her from becoming my wife 1
But I see it all now — I see how — how utterly impossible
it is for me to think of marriage with Her Imperial
Highness. I — I "
He could not finish his sentence. He stretched out
his strong hand to me, and in a broken breath murmured
a word of thanks.
In his kind, manly eyes I saw the bright light of
unshed tears. His voice was choked by emotion as,
turning upon his heel, poor feUow ! he abruptly left
the room, crushed beneath the heav^' blow which had
so suddenly fallen upon him.
AT WRAT COST !
Colonel Paul Polivanoff, Marshal of the Imperial
Court, gorgeous in his pale blue and gold uniform of
the Nijni-Xovgorod Dragoons, \\ith many decorations,
tapped at the white enameUed steel door of His Majesty's
private cabinet in the Palace of Tzarskoie-Selo, and then
entered, announcing in French :
" Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Nat aha
and M'sieur Colin Trewinnard."
Nine days had passed since that parting of the lovers
at Locheamhead, and now, as w^e stood upon the threshold
of the bomb-proof chamber, I knew that our \dsit there
in company was to be a momentous event in the history
of modem Russia.
As we entered, the Emperor, who had been busy
with the pile of State documents upon his table, rose,
settled the hang of his sword — for he was in a dark
THE PRICE OF POWER
green militan' uniform, with the double-headed eagle
of Saint Wndrew in diamonds at his throat — and turned
to meet us.
Towards me His Majesty extended a cordial wel-
come, but I could plainly detect that his niece's presence
caused him displeasure.
" So you are back again in Russia — eh, Tattie ? "
he snapped in French, speaking in that language instead
of Russian because of my presence. " It seems that
during your absence you have been guilty of some
ver}' grave indiscretions and more than one scandalous
escapade — eh ? "
" I am here to explain to Your Majesty," the girl
said quite calmly, and looking very pale and sweet in
" Trewinnard has furnished me wdth reports," he
said hastily, motioning her to a chair. " What 3^ou
have to say, please say quickty, as I have much to do
and am lea\dng for Moscow to-nigi^fe Be seated."
" I am here for two reasons," she said, seating her-
self opposite to where he had sunk back into his big
padded writing-chair, " to explain what you are pleased
to term my conduct, and also to place your Majesty in
possession of certain facts which have been very care-
fully hidden from 3^ou."
" Another plot — eh ? " he snapped. " There are
plots ever}'where just now."
" A plot — yes — but not a revolutionarv' one," was
" Leave such things to Markoff or to Hart wig. They
are not women's business," he cried impatiently.
" Rather explain your conduct in England. From
what I hear, you have so far forgotten what is due to
your rank and station as to fall in love with some com-
moner ! Markoff made a long report about it the other
day. I have it somewhere/' ajid he glanced back upon
THE PRICE OF POWER 253
his littered table, whereon lay piled the affairs of a great
and powerful Empire.
Her cheeks flushed slightly, and I saw that her white-
gloved hand twitched nervously. We had travelled
together from Petersburg, and upon the journey she
had been silent and thoughtful, bracing herself up for
" I care not a jot for any report of General Markoff's,"
she replied boldly. " Indeed, it was mainly to speak
of him that I have asked for audience to-day."
" To tell me something against him, I suppose, just
because he has discovered your escapades in England —
because he has dared to tell me the truth — eh, Tattie ? "
he said, with a dry laugh. " So like a woman ! "
" If he has told you the truth about me, then' it is the
first time he has ever told Your Majesty the truth,"
she said, looking straight at the Emperor.
The Sovereign glanced first at her with quick sur-
prise and then at myself.
" Her Imperial Highness has something to report to
Your Majesty, something of a very grave and important
nature," I ventured to remark.
" Eh ? Eh ? " asked the big bearded man, in his
quick, impetuous way. " Something grave — eh ?
Well, Tattie, what is it 1 "
The girl, pale and agitated, held her breath for a few
moments. Then she said :
" I know, uncle, that you consider me a giddy, in-
corrigible flirt. Perhaps I am. But, nevertheless, I
am in possession of a secret — a secret which, as it affects
the welfare of the nation and of the dynasty, it is, I
consider, my duty to reveal to you."
" Ah ! Revolutionists again ! "
" I beg of you to listen, uncle, " she urged. " I
have several more serious matters to place before
254 THE PRICE OF PO^\TER
" Very well," he replied, smiling as though humouring
her. " I am listening. Only pray be brief, won't you?"
" You will recollect the attempt planned to be made
in the Nevski on the early morning of our arrival from
the Crimea, and in connection with that plot a lady, a
friend of mine and of Mr. Trewinnard's, named Madame
de Rosen, and her daughter Luba were arrested and
sent by administrative process to Siberia ? "
" Certainly. Trewinnard went recently on a quixotic
mission to the distressed ladies," he laughed. " But
why, my dear child, refer to them further ? They were
conspirators, and I really have no interest in their wel-
fare. The elder woman is, I understand, dead."
" Yes," the Grand Duchess cried fiercely ; " killed
by exposure, at the orders of General Serge Markoff."
" Oh ! " he exclaimed, " then you have come here to
denounce poor Markoff as an assassin — eh ? This is
really most interesting."
"What I have to relate to Your Majesty \\ill, , I
believe, be found of considerable interest," she said,
now quite calm and determined. " True, I have
charged Serge Markoff with the illegal arrest and the
subsequent death of an innocent woman. It is for me
now to prove it."
" Certainly," said His Imperial Majesty, settling him-
self in his big chair, and placing the tips of his strong
white fingers together in an attitude of listening.
" Then I wish to reveal to you a few facts concerning
this man who wields such wide and autocratic power in
our Russia — this man who is the real oppressor of our
nation, and who is so cleverly misleading and terroriz-
ing its ruler."
" Tattie ! What are you saying ? "
" You will learn when I have finished," she said. " I
am only a girl, I admit, but I know the truth — the scan-
dalous truth — how you, the Emperor, are daily deceived
THE PRICE OF POWER 255
and made a catspaw by your clever and unscrupulous
Chief of Secret Police."
" Speak. I am all attention/' he said, his brows
" I have referred to poor Marya de Rosen," said the
girl, leaning her elbow upon the arm of the chair
and looking straight into her uncle's face. " If the
truth be told, Marya and Serge Markoff had been ac-
quainted for a very long time. Two years after the
death of her husband, Felix de Rosen, the wealthy
banker of Odessa and Warsaw, Serge Markoff, in order
to obtain her money, married her."
" Married her ! " echoed the Emperor in a loud voice.
" Can you prove this ? "
" Yes. Three years ago, when I was living \Wth my
father in Paris, I went alone one morning to the Russian
Church in the Rue Daru, where, to my utter amaze-
ment, I found a quiet marriage-service in progress.
The contracting parties were none other than General
Markoff and the widow, Madame de Rosen. Beyond
the priest and the sacristan, I was the only person in
possession of the truth. They both returned to Peters-
burg next day, but agreed to keep their marriage secret,
as the General was cunning enough to know that mar-
riage would probably interfere with his advancement
and probably cause Your Majesty displeasure."
" I had. no idea of it !" he remarked, much surprised.
" Marya de Rosen — or Madame Markoff, as she really
w^as — frequently went to her husband's house, but always
clandestinely and unknown to Luba, who had no sus-
picion of the truth," the girl went on. " According to
the story told to me by Marya herself, a strange incident
occurred at the General's house one evening. She had
called there and been admitted, by the side entrance;
by a confidential servant, and was awaiting the return
of the General, who was having audience at the Winter
256 THE PRICE OF POWER
Palace. While sitting alone, a young woman of the
middle-class— probably an art-student — was ushered
into the room by another servant, who beheved Marya
was awaiting formal audience of His Excellency. The
girl was highly excited and h3-sterical, and finding Marya
alone, at once broke out in terrible invective against
the General. Marya naturally took Markoff's part,
whereupon the girl began to make all sorts of charges
of conspiracy, and even murder, against him — charges
which Marya declared to the girl's face were lies.
" Suddenty, however, the girl plunged her hand deep
into the pocket of her skirt and produced three letters,
which, with a mocking laugh, she urged Marya to read
and then to judge His Excellency accordingly. Mean-
while, the manservant, having heard the girl's voice
raised excitedl}^ entered and promptly ejected her,
leaving the letters in Marya's hands. She opened them.
They were all in Serge Markoff's own handwriting, and
were addressed to a certain man named Danilo Danilo-
\dtch, once a shoemaker at Kazan, and now, in secret,
the leader of the Revolutionary Party.
" From the first of these Marya saw that it was quite
plain that the General — the man in whom Your Majesty
places such implicit faith — had actually bribed the man
with five thousand roubles and a promise of police pro-
tection to assassinate Your Majesty's brother, the Grand
Duke Peter Michailovitch, from whom he feared ex-
posure, as he had been shrewd enough to discover his
double dealing and the peculation of the public funds of
which Markoff had been guilty while holding the office
of Governor of Kazan. Six days after that letter,"
Her Highness added in a hard, clear voice, " my poor
Uncle Peter was shot dead by an unknown hand while
emerging from the Opera House in Warsaw."
" Ah ! I remember ! " exclaimed His Majesty
hoarsely, for the Grand Duke Peter was his favourite
THE PRICE OF POWER 257
brother, and his assassination had caused him the most
" Of the other two letters — all of them having been
in my possession," Her Highness went on, " one was a
brief note, appointing a meeting for the following even-
ing at a house near the Peterhof Station, in Petersburg,
while the third contained a most amazing confession.
In the course of it General Markoff wrote words to the
following effect : ' You and your chicken-hearted friends
are utterly useless to me. I was present and watched
you. When he entered the theatre you and your
wretched friends were afraid — you failed me ! You
call yourself Revolutionists — you, all of you, are
without the courage of a mouse ! I thought better of
vou. When you failed so ignominiously, I waited —
waited until he came out. \Vhere you failed, I was
fortunately successful. He fell at the first shot.
Arrests w^re, of course, necessar^^ Some of your
cowardly friends deserve all the punishment they will
get. Forty-six have been arrested to-day. Meet me
to-morrow at eight p.m. at the usual rendezvous. You
shall have the money all the same, though you
certainly do not deserve it. Destro}' this.' "
" Where is that letter ? " demanded His Majesty
" It has unfortunatety been destroyed — destroyed
b}^ its writer. Marya was aghast at these revelations
of her husband's treachery and double-dealing, for
while Chief of Secret Police and Your Majesty's most
trusted adviser he was actually aiding and abetting the
Revolutionists ! She placed the letters which had so
opportunely come into her possession into her pocket,
and said nothing to Markoff when he returned. But
from that moment she distrusted him, and saw how
ingenious and cunning were his dealings wdth both your-
self and with the leader of the Revolutionists. He,
258 THE PRICE OF POWER
assisted by his catspaw, Danilo Danilovitch, formed
desperate plots for the mere purpose of making whole
sale arrests, and thus showing you how active and astute
he was. Danilo Danilovitch — who, as ' The One,' the
leader whose actual identity is unknown by those poor
deluded wretches who believe they can effect a change
in Russia by means of bombs — is as cunning and crafty
as his master. It was he who threw the bomb at our
carriage and who killed my poor dear father. He "
" How can you prove that ? " demanded the Em-
" I myself saw him throw the bomb," I said, inter-
rupting. " The outrage was committed at Markoff' s
" Impossible ! Wh}^ do 3'ou allege this, Trewinnard ?
What motive could Markoff have in killing the Grand
Duke Nicholas ? "
" The same that he had in ordering the arrest and
banishment of his own wife and her daughter," was my
reply. " Her Highness will make further explanation."
" The motive was simply this," went on the girl, still
speaking with great calmness and determination. " A
few days before I left with Your Majesty on the tour of
the Empire, I called upon Marya de Rosen to wish her
good-bye. On that occasion she gave me the three
letters in question — which had apparently been
stolen from Danilovitch by the girl who had handed
them to her. Marya told me that she feared lest her
husband, when he knew they were in her possession,
might order a domiciUary visit for the purpose of
securing possession of them. Therefore she begged me,
after she had shown me the contents and bound me to
strictest silence, to conceal them. This I did.
" Wtnle we were absent in the south nothing tran-
spired, but Danilovitch had arranged an attempt in the
Nevski on the morning of our return to Petersburg
THE PRICE OF POWER 259
The plot was discovered at the eleventh hour, as usual,
and among those arrested was Madame de Rosen and
Luba. Why ? Because Your Majesty's favourite.
Serge Markoff, having discovered that the incriminating
letters had been handed to his wife, knew that she, and
probably Luba, were aware of his secret. He feared
that the evidence of his crime might have passed into
other hands, and dreading lest his wife should betray
him, he ordered her arrest as a dangerous political.
After her arrest he saw her, and, hoping for her release,
she explained how she had handed the letters to me
for safe keeping, and confessed that I was aware of the
shameful truth. She was not, however, released, but
sent to her grave. For that same reason Markoff
ordered his agent Danilovitch to throw the bomb at
the carriage in which I was riding with m\- poor father
and Mr. Trewinnard."
" But I really cannot give credence to all tliis ! " ex-
claimed the Emperor, who had risen again and was
standing near the window which looked out upon the
courtyard of the palace, whence came the sound of
soldiers drilling and distant bugle-calls.
" Presently Your Majesty shall be given a complete
proof," his niece responded. " Danilovitch has con-
fessed. At Markoff' s orders — which he was compelled
to carry out, fearing that if he refused the all-powerful
Chief of Secret Police would betray him to his comrades
as a spy — he, at imminent risk of being shot by the
sentries, visited our palace on four occasions, and suc-
ceeded at last, after long searches, in discovering the
letters where I had hidden them for safety in my old
nursery, and, securing them, he handed them back to
"Then this Danilovitch is a Revolutionist paid by
Markoff to perform his dirty work — eh ? " asked the
2C0 THE PRICE OF POWER
" He is paid, and paid well, to organize conspiracies
against Your Majesty's person," I interrupted. " The
majority of the plots of the past three years have been
suggested by Markoff himself, and arranged by Danilo-
vitch, who finds it very easy to beguile numbers of his
poor deluded comrades into believing that the revolu-
tion will bring about freedom in Russia. A hst of these
he furnishes to Markoff before each attempt is discovered,
hence the astute Chief of Secret Police is alwa3^s able to
put his hand upon the conspirators and to furnish a
satisfactory report to Your Majesty, for which he re-
" Apparently a unique arrangement," remarked the
" In order to close the lips of Madame de Rosen, he
contrived that she should receive such brutal and in-
human treatment that she died of the effects of cold,
hardship and exposure," I went on. " One of Markoff's
agents made a desperate attempt upon myself while in
Siberia, fearing that Her Highness had revealed the
truth to me, and well knowing that I was -aware of Danilo-
vitch's true metier. The attempt fortunately failed,
as did another recently formed by Danilovitch iii London
at Markoff's orders. Therefore "
" But this Danilovitch ! " interrupted His Majesty,
turning to me. " Has he actually confessed to
you ? "
" He has. Sire," I repUed. " The sole reason of my
journey to Yakutsk was in order to see Marya de Rosen
on Her Highness's behalf and obtain permission for her
to speak and reveal to Your Majesty all that the Grand
Duchess has now told you. Her Highness had pro-
mised strictest secrecy to her friend, but now that the
lady is dead I have at last induced her to speak in the
personal -interests of Your Majesty, as well as in the
interests of the whole nation."
THE PRICE OF POWER 261
*' Yes, yes, I quite understand," said His Majesty
" By returning here, by abandoning my incog^tita, I
—I have been compelled to sacrifice my love," declared
the girl in a low, faltering voice, her cheeks blanched,
her mouth drawn hard, and her fine eyes filled with
" Ah ! Tattie ! If what you have revealed to me be
true, then the reason of Markoff' s unsatisfactory reports
concerning, you is quite apparent," His Majesty said,
slowly folding his arms as he stood in thought, a fine
commanding figure with the jewelled double eagle at
his throat flashing with a thousand fires.
" And so, Trewinnard," he added, turning to me,
" all this is the reason why, more than once, you have
given me those mysterious hints which have set me
" Yes, Sire," I replied. " You have been blinded by
these clever adventurers surrounding you — that circle
which, headed by Serge Markoff, is always so careful to
prevent you from learning the truth. The intrigue they
practise is most ingenious and far-reaching, ever securing
their own advancement with fat emoluments at the
expense of the oppressed nation. Their basic principle
is to terrorize you — to keep the bogy of revolution con-
stantly before Your Majesty, to discover plots, and by
administrative process to send hundreds, nay thousands,
into exile in those far-off Arctic wastes, or fill the prisons
with suspects, more than two-thirds of whom are inno-
cent, loyal and' law-abiding citizens."
He turned suddenly and, pale with anger, struck his
fist upon his table.
" There shall be no more exile by administrative
process ! " he cried, and seating himself, he drew a sheet
of official paper before hun, and for a few moments his
quill squeaked rapidly over the paper.
262 THE PRICE OF POWER
Thus he wrote the ukase abolishing exile by adminis-
trative process — that law which the camarilla had so
abused — and signed it with a flourish of his pen.
The first reform in Russia — a reform which meant
the yearly saving of thousands of innocent lives, the
preservation of the sanctity of every home throughout
the great Empire, and which guaranteed to everyone
in future, suspect or known criminal or Revolutionist,
a fair and open trial — had been achieved.
Surely the little Grand Duchess, the madcap of the
Romanoffs, had not sacrificed her great love in vain,
even though while that Imperial ukase was being written
she sat with bitter tears roUing slowly do\\Ti her white
DESCRIBES A MOMENTOUS AUDIENCE
A DEAD silence fell in that small, business-like room,
wherein the monarch, the hardest-working man in the
Empire, transacted the comphcated business of the
great Russian nation.
Outside could be heard a sharp word of command,
followed by the heavy tramp of soldiers and the roU of
drums. The sentries were changing guard.
Slowly — ver}^ slowly — His Majesty placed a sheet of
blotting-paper over the document he had written, and
then turning to the tearful girl, asked :
" Will not this individual, Danilo Danilovitch, fur-
nish me with proofs ? He is a Revolutionist, yet that
is no reason why I should not see him. From what you
tell me, Markoff holds him in his power by constantly
threatening to betray him to his comrades as a police-
spy. I must see him. Where is he ? "
" He has accompanied us from London, Your Majesfy,"
THE PRICE OF POWER 263
was my reply. " I had some difficulty in assuring him
that he would obtain justice at Your Majesty's hands."
" He is an assassin. He" killed my brother Nicholas ;
yet it seems — if what you tell me be true — that Markoff
compelled him to commit this crime."
" Without a doubt," was my reply.
" Then, Revolutionist or not, I will see him," and he
touched the electric button placed in the side of his
A sentry appeared instantly, and at my suggestion
His Majesty permitted me to go down the long corridor,
at the end of which the dark, thin-faced man, in a rather
shabby black suit, was sitting in a small ante-room,
outside which stood a tall, statuesque Cossack sentry.
A few words of explanation, and somewhat reluc-
tantly Daniloxitch rose and followed me into the
presence of the man he was ever plotting to kill.
The Emperor received liim most graciously ,and
ordered him to be seated, saying :
" My niece here and Mr. Trewinnard have been
speaking of you, Danilo Danilovitch, and have told me
certain astounding things."
The man looked up at his Sovereign, pale and
frightened, and His Majesty, realizing this, at once put
him at his ease by adding : " I know that, in secret, you
are the mysterious ' One ' who directs the revolutionary
movement throughout the Empire, and the constant
conspiracies directed against my own person. Well,"
he laughed, " I hope, Danilovitch, you will not find me
so terrible as you have been led to expect, and, further,
that when you leave here you will think a little better
of the man whose duty it is to rule the Russian nation
than you hitherto have done. Now," he asked, looking
straight at the man, " are you prepared to speak with
me openly and frankly, as I am prepared to speak to
you ? "
^64 THE PRICE OF POWER
" I am, Your Majest}'," he said.
" Then answer me a few questions," urged the Im-
perial autocrat. " First, tell me whether these constant
conspiracies against myself — these plots for which so
many hundreds are being banished to Siberia — are
genuine ones formed by those who really desire to take
my life ? "
" No, Sire," was the answer. " The last genuine plot
v/as the one in Samara, nearly two years ago. Your
Majesty escaped only by a few seconds."
" When the railway line was blo\\Ti up just outside
the station ; I remember," said the Emperor, with a
grim smile. " Four of 3'our fellow-conspirators were
killed by their own explosives."
" That was the last genuine plot. All the recent
ones have been suggested by General T\Iarkoff, head of
the Secret Police."
" With your a.ssistance ? "
The man nodded in the affirm.ative.
" Then you betray }'our fellow-conspirators for pa\'-
ment- — eh ? "
" Because I am compelled. I, alas ! took a false
step once, and His Excellency the General has taken
advantage of it ever since. He forces me to act accord-
ing to his wishes, to conspire, to betray — to m.urder if
necessity arises — because he knows how I dread the
truth becoming knowTi to the secret revolutionary com-
mittee, and how I fully reahze the terrible fate which
must befall me if the actual facts were ever revealed.
The Terrorists entertain no sympath}' wdth their be-
" I quite understand that," remarked the Sovereign.
And then, in gracious w^ords, he closely questioned him
r-ega.rding the assassination of the Grand Duke Peter
outside the Opera House in Warsaw, and heard the ghastly
troth of Markoff's crime from the \ritness's o\^ti ]ips.
THE PRICE OF POWER 265
" I read the letters which I secured from the Palace
of the Grand Duke Nicholas," he admitted. " They
were to the same effect as Your Majesty has said. I a
one of them His Excellency the General confessed his
" You threw the bomb which killed my brother, tlie
Grand Duke Nicholas ? "
" It was intended to kill Her Highness the Grand
Duchess," and he indicated Natalia, " and also the
EngHshman, Mr. Trewinnard. The General was plot-
ting the death of both of them, fearing that they knew
" And in England there was another conspiracy
against them — eh ? "
'■' Yes," replied the man knowTi as the Shoemaker of
Kazan. " But Mr. Trewinnard and the Chief of Crimi-
nal Police, Ivan Hartwig, discovered me, and dared me
to commit the outrage on pain of betrayal to my friends.
Hence I have been between two stools — compelled by
Markoff and defied by Hartwig. At last, in desperation,
I sent an anonymous letter to Her Highness warning her,
with the fortunate result that both she and her lover —
a young Englishman named Drur^' — disappeared, and
even the Secret Police were unable to discover their
whereabouts. I did so in order to gain time, for I had
no motive in taking H jr Highness's life, although if I
refused to act I kncv wnat the result must inevitably be."
" All this astounds me," declared the Emperor. " I
never dreamed that I was being thus misled, or that
Markoff was acting with such cunning and unscrupulous-
ness against the interests of the dynasty and the nation,
I see the true situation. You, Danilo Danilovitch, are
a Revolutionist — not by conviction, but because of the
drastic action of the Secret PoUce, the real rulers of
Russia. Therefore, read that," and he took from his
table the Imperial ukase and handed it to him.
266 THE PRICE OF POWER
When he had read it he returned it to the Emperor's
hand, and murmured :
" Thank God ! All Russia will praise Your Majesty
for your clemenc3\ It is the reform for which we have
been craving for the past twenty years — fair trial, and
after conviction a just punishment. But we have,
alas ! only had arrest and prompt banishment without
trial. Every man and woman in Russia has hitherto
been at the mercy of any police-spy or any secret enemy."
" My only wdsh is to give justice to the nation," de-
clared the Sovereign, his dark, thoughtful eyes turned
upon the dynamitard whose word was law to every
Terrorist from Archangel to Odessa, and from Wirballen
'' And, Sire, on behalf of the Party of the People's
Will I beg to thank you for granting it to us," said
the man, whose keen, highly-intelligent face was now
"" What I have heard to-day from my niece's lips,
from Mr. Trewdnnard and from yourself, has caused the
gravest thoughts to arise within me," His Majesty de-
clared after a slight pause. " Injustice has, I see, been
done on every hand, and the Secret PoHce has been
administered by one who, it seems, is admittedly an
assassin. It is now for me to remedy that — and to do so
by drastic measures."
"And the whole nation wall praise Your Majesty,"
Danilovitch rephed. "I am a Revolutionist, it is true,
but I have been forced — forced against my wiU — to
formulate these false plots for the corrupt Secret Police
to unearth. I declare most solemnly to Your Majesty
that my position as leader of this Party and at the same
time an agent-provocateur has been a source of constant
danger and hourly terror. In order to hide my secret,
I was unfortunately compelled to commit murder — to
kill the woman I loved. She discovered the truth, and
THE PRICE OF POWER 267
would have exposed me to the vengeance which the
Party never fails to mete out to its betra3'ers. Markoff
had given me my liberty and immunity from arrest in
exchange for my services to him. He held me in his
power, body and soul, and, because of that, I was forced
to strike down the woman I loved," he added, with a
catch in his voice. " And — and " he said, standing
before the Emperor, " I crave Your Majesty's clemency.
I — I crave a pardon for that act for which I have ever
been truly penitent."
" A pardon is granted," was the reply in a firm, deep
voice. " You killed my brother Nicholas under com-
pulsion. But on account of your open confession and
the service rendered to me by these revelations, I must
forgive you. I see that your actions have, all along,
been controlled by Serge Markoff. Now," he added,
" what more can you tell me regarding this malad-
mmistration of the police ? "
Danilovitch threw himself upon his knees and kissed
the Emperor's hand, thanking him deeply and de-
claring that he would never take any further part in
the revolutionary movement in the future, but exercise
all his influence to crush and stamp it out.
Then, when he had risen again to his feet, he ad-
dressed His Majesty, saying :
" The Secret Police, as at present organized, manu-
facture revolutionaries. I was a loyal, law-abiding
Russian before the police arrested my brother and my
wife illegally, and sent them to Siberia without trial.
Then I rose, like thousands of others have done, and fell
into the trap which Markoff 's agents so cleverly prepared.
No one has been safe from arrest in Russia "
" Until to-day," the Emperor interrupted. " The
ukase I have written is the law of the Empire from this
" Ah ! God be thanked ! " cried the man, placing his
268 THE PRICE OF POWER
hands together fervently. " Probably no man can
tell the many crimes and injustices for which General
Markoff has been responsible. You want to know some
of them — some within my own knowledge," he went on.
" Well, he was responsible for the great plot in Moscow
a year ago when the little Tzarevitch so narrowly escaped.
Seventeen people were killed and twenty-three were
injured by the six bombs which were thrown, and
nearly one hundred innocent persons were sent to
Schusselburg or to Siberia in consequence."
" Did \'ou formulate that plot ? " the Emperor asked.
" I did. Also at ^larkoff's orders the one at Nikolaiev
where the 3'oung woman. Vera Vogel, shot the Governor-
General of Kherson and two of his Cossacks. Again at
Markoff' s demand, I formed the plot whereby, near
Tchirskaia, the bridge over the Don was blown up ;
fortunately just before Your Majesty's train reached it.
It was I who pressed the electrical contact — I pressed
it purposely a few moments too quickly, as I was deter-
mined not to be the cause of that wholesale loss of life
which must have resulted had the train fallen into the
river. Another attempt was the Zuroff affair, when' an
infernal machine charged with nitro-glycerine was not
long ago actuall}' found within the Winter Palace —
placed there by an unkno^\-n hand in order to terrify
Your Majesty. But I tell you the hand that placed it
where it was found was that of Serge Markoff himself —
the same hand which killed His Imperial Highness the
Grand Duke Peter in order to prevent His Highness
telling Your Majesty certain ugly truths which he had
accidently discovered. And," he went on, " there were
many other conspiracies of various kinds conceived for
the sole purpose of keeping the Empire ever in a state of
unrest and the arrest of hundreds of the innocent of
both sexes. Indeed, explosives — picric acid, nitro-
glycerine, melinite and cordite — were supplied to us
THE PRICE OF POWER 269
frnm a secret source. Sometimes, too, when I furnished
aTiS of sav ten or a dozen of those implicated m a pW,
?1 e police^ould arrest them with probably thirty others
besides people taken haphazard in the streets or m t he
houses Whole families have been banished men
Sged from their wives, women from their husbands
and children, and though innocent were consigned to
those te^ble oubliettes beneath the level of the lake at
Schusselburg, or in the Fortress of Peter and Paul. To
adeSy describe aU the fierce brutality, the gross
Ljul&e a'nd the ingenious plots conceived and financed
bv Serge Markoff would be impossible. I only speak
of thosf in which I, as his unwiUing catspaw, have been
™Her ffighness and myself had listened to this amazing
confession without uttering a word.
The Emperor, intensely interested m the man s stor^ ,
put to him manv questions, some concerning the demands
of the Party bf the People's Will, others m which he
requested further details concerning Markoff's crimes
against persons, and against the State.
^^' This'^man in whom' for years I have placed such
impUcit confidence has plaved me false ! cned the
ruler presentlv, his face pale as he struck the table
tocely in l^s'a^ger. " He has plotted with the Terror-
Ss against me f He has been responsible for several
attempts from which I have narrow.y escaped with my
Ufe therefore he shall answer to me-this canning
knave who is actually my brother s assassin ! H. shall
Dav the penalty of his crimes ! ' , j ,
^ •' All Russia knows that at Your Majest^s hands wv
always receive justice," the Revolutionist said. From
the 'Ministry, however, we never do. They are our
°Pn;d;^R"tfonSs '.ish to kUl me because of the
misdeeds of my Ministers ! " cried the Emperor m reproach.
270 THE PRICE OF POWER
" If Your Majesty dismisses and punishes those who
are responsible, then there will be no more Terrorism in
Russia. I am a leader ; I have bred and reared the
serpent of the Revolution, and I m3^self can strangle it
— and I promise Your Majesty that as soon as General
Markoif is removed from office — I wih do so."
gg^ CHAPTER XXXIV
^ THE EMPEROR'S COMMAND
Agmn the Emperor turned to his table and scribbled a
few lines in Russian, which he handed to the man.
It was an impressive moment. What he had written
was the dismissal in disgrace of his favourite, the most
powerful official in the Empire.
" I shall receive him in audience to-night, and shall
give this to him," he said. " The punishment I can
Then, after a pause, he added :
'' I have to thank you, Danilo Danilovitch, for all
that you have revealed to me. Go and tell your com-
rades of the Revolution all that I have said and what I
have done. Tell them that their Emperor will himself
see that justice is accorded them — that his one object
in future shall be to secure, by God's grace, the peace,
prcsperiiy and tranquillity of the Russian nation."
Then the Emperor bowed as sign that the audience
was at an end, and the man, unused to the etiquette
of Court, bowed, turned, and wishing us farewell,
" x\ll this utterly astounds me, Trewinnard," said
His Majesty, when Danilovitch had gone. He was
speaking as a man, not as an Emperor. " Yet what
Tattie has revealed only confirms what I suspected
regarding the death of my poor brother Peter," he
THE PRICE OF POWER 271
went on " You recollect that I told you my suspicions
of mv secret-on the day of the fourth Court ball
Sd"?ihS drmi.g his «to.8 hand .-.•nly acras
TSi/x ^h,f s*; '.tier's,':,
It iSeid f have to ,h.n\you f«r_™ch m cc
ito "g "fa^l 1»" Xi '" Rati" "»'■ «»
you Offence, she might have remained i" Enf'^nd
or rather, in Scotland, still preser^-mg her '"cogn i«,
^nd stm rrtaining at her side the honest, upright young
En.lfshman wi\h whom she has been in love ever since
l^^X ^-^ Sfirco^ntS :
how fntense her look. ;; By this step you have, m all
probabihty. saved my life^ *^^'^''°^.^"bt kilfed r^e
""■ii°'l«i " S" .1 comma„d,„8 pr.fnee strode
before her, and drawing himself up with that reg.. air
272 THE PRICE OF POWER
which suited him so well, he looked straight at her,
placed his hand tenderly upon her shoulder as she sat,
and said :
" Tell me, Tattie ; do you really and truly love this
Englishman ? "
" I do, uncle," the girl faltered, her fine eyes downcast.
" Of course I do. I — I cannot tell you a he and deny
■' And — well, if Richard Drury took out letters of
naturalization as a Russian subject, and I made him
a Count — and I gave you permission to marry — what
then — eh ? " he asked, smiling merrily as he stood
She sprang to her feet and grasped both his big
" You will ! " she cried. " You really will ! Uncle,
tell me ! "
The Emperor, smiling benignly upon her — for, after
j.ll, she was his favourite niece — slowly nodded in the
Whereupon she turned to me, exclaiming :
" Oh ! Uncle Colin. Dear old Uncle Colin ! I'm
so happy — so very happy ! I must telegraph to Dick
at once — at once ! "
" No, no, little madcap," interrupted the Emperor ;
" not from here. The Secret Police v\-ould quickly
know all about it. Send someone to the German frontier
with a telegram. One of our couriers shall start to-
night. Drury wUl receive the good nevvS to-morrow
evening, and, Tattie " he added, taking both her
little hands again, " I have knov/n all along, from
various reports, how deeply and devotedly you love this
3'oung Englishman. Therefore, if I give my consent
and make your union possible, I only hope and trust
that you will both enjoy every happiness."
In her \^ild ecstasy of delight the girl raised her svv-eet
THE PRICE OF POWER 273
face to his heavy-bearded countenance, that face
wora bv the cares of State, and kissed him fe^-ently^
Seine hkn profoundly, while I on my part craved
or the fmmediate release of poor Luba de Rosen.
The Emperor at once scribbled something upon an
offi^^l Sraph form, and touching a bell, the sentry
"^The"yoilng lady so crueUy wronged ^.dll be free
and on her way back to Petersburg withm three hours
the Monarch said quietly, after the sentry had made
""Oh*' Uncle Colin!" cried Her Highness excitedly
to me, '■' what a red-letter day this is or me ! .
•' AAd for me also, Tattie," remarked Hi= Ma es.v
ii his deep clear voice. " Owmg to your efioru, I
h°in/the stirring-up of the people, the creation of di,-
sa ulaction unr'est^ and the actual manufacture of
r^-outfona^ plots directed against my own person^
T now know the truth, and I intend to act-to act
vi?h a hand as strong and as relentless as they have
-ed aeainst mv poor, innocent, long-suttenng sub ect..
h4 ffieto^BS was all anxiety to send a tele^am
bv courief over the frontier to Eydtkuhnen. If he
St PetTrsb^g by the night train at a quarter-past
ten he wouldNhe reckoned, be at the fron ler at sue
o^clock on the foUowing evening. It was half an hour
bv tTain from Tzarskoie'selo to Petersburg, and she was
nL ea^er to end the audience and be dismissed^
But His Majesty seemed m no .hi"y • J^e ^^^
us both many questions „concernmg Markoff, and
274 THE PRICE OF POWER
what we knew regarding his deahngs with the bomb-
Nataha explained what had occurred in Brighton,
and how she had been constantly watched by Danilo-
vitch, while I described the visit of Hart wig and myself
to that dingy house in Lower Clapton. That sinister,
unscrupulous chief of Secret Police had been directly
responsible for the death of Natalia's father ; and Her
Highness was bitter in her invectives against him.
" Leave him to me," said the Emperor, frowning
darkly. "He is an assassin, and he shall be punished
Then, ringing his bell again, he ordered the next
Imperial courier in waiting to be summoned, for at
whatever palace His Majesty might be there were always
half a dozen couriers ready at a moment's notice to go
to the furthermost end of the Empire.
' ' I know, Tattie, you are anxious to send your message.
Write it at my table, and it shall be sent from the first
German station. Here, in Russia, the Secret Police are
furnished with copies of all messages sent abroad or
received. We do not want your secret disclosed just
yet ! " he laughed.
So the girl seated herself in the Emperor's chair,
and after one or two attempts composed a telegram
containing the good news, which she addressed to
Richard Drury at his flat in Albemarle Street.
Presently the courier, a big, bearded man of gigantic
stature, in drab uniform, was ushered into the Imperial
presence, and saluted. To him, His Majesty gave the
message, and ordered him to take it by the next train
to Eydtkuhnen. Whereupon the man again saluted,
backed out of the door, and started upon his errand.
WTiat, I wondered, would Dick Drury think when he
received her reassuring message ?
Nataha's face beamed with supreme happiness.
THE PRICE OF TOWER 275
while the Emperor himself for the moment forgot his
Tnemies in the pleasure which his niece's dehght gave
*°A^dn His Majesty, with darkening brow referred
to tie bmtar murde^ of his favourite brother, the
Grand Duke Peter, saymg : , .,_ •
-You %vill recollect, Trewinnard, the cunous con-
viction which one dav so suddenly came upon me.
I repealed it to you in strictest secrecy-the ghastly
truth which seemed to have been forced upon me by
some in\4sible agency. It was my secret, and the idea
harh^nted me^ver since. And yet here to-day my
suspicion that poor Peter was killed by some person
who feared what secret he might reveal stand, con-
firmed • and yet," he cried, "how many times have
I™ my ignorance, taken the hand of my brothers
murderer 1 " _ . , ^r t. i ^rr
Colonel Pohvanoff , the Imperial Marshal , my
old friend, Captain Stoyano^dtch equerr>-m-w'aitmg
both craved audience, one after the other, for they
bore messages for His Majesty. Therefore tjiey.were
received xvithout ceremony and impatiently dismissed
The subject the Sovereign was discussmg with us
was of far more importance than reports from the
great miUtary camps at Vihia and at Smolensk, where
manoeuvTes were taking place. . ^ , , , ^^^ ^„^
The Emperor turned to his private telephone and
was speaking with Trepoff, the Minister /or rore:gn
Affairs in Petersburg, when the Marshal Pohvanoff
again entered, saying : ,. . . j- ^^
" His Excellency General Markotl petitions audience
of Your Majesty." . , ^ a K^^ft.
Nataha and I exchanged quick gknces, and botk
^ For'^a second the Emperor hesitated. Then, turning
to us, he commanded us to remain.
276 THE PRICE OF POWER
" I utII see him at once," he said ver>- calmly, his
face a trifle paler.
Next moment the man whose dismissal in disgrace
was alread}" lying upon the Emperor's desk stood upon
the threshold and bowed himself into the Imperial
" FRO^I OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT "
That moment was indeed a breathless one.
The Emperor's countenance was grey with anger.
Yet he remained quite calm and firm. He was about to
deal with an enemy more bitter and more dangerous
than the most relentless firebrand of the whole Revo-
" I was not aware that Your Majesty was engaged
w^ith Her Imperial Highness," the sinister-faced official
began. " I have a confidential report to make — a matter
of great urgency."
" WeU, I hope it is not another plot," remarked the
Sovereign with bitter, wear^^ sarcasm. " But whatever
report you wish to make, Markoff, may be made here
— before my niece and Mr. Trewinnard."
He glanced at us suspiciously and then said :
" Tliis afternoon the Moscow police have unearthed
a most desperate plot to wreck Your Majesty's train
earh" to-morrow morning at Chimki. I furnished them
with information, and twenty-eight aiTests have been
" Indeed," remarked his Imperial Master, raising
his eyebrow's, quite unmoved. " Have you the list
Ci names ? "
In answer, the Genera] produced a yellow^ official
paper, which he placed upon His Majesty's table.
THE PRICE OF POWER 277
Then with but a casual glar.ce, the Emperor took
up his quill and scribbled «.me words across the sheet
^IliZfi VlncS' at the words written, then, much
release. And, let me tell you, Serge Markoff, that this
"" The "General's countenance went white as paper.
Such a reception was entirely unexpected.
■' Ah ! •■ exclaimed His Majesty, with a fitter =mue
" T =ee what surprise and apprehension my talk with
DLllo\4'h cause's you. WeS, I will not g.ve u^teran
to the loathing I fee towards you— the man m vvnobc
Tands I have placed such supreme power, and whom I
have so impUci^ly tmsted. Suffice it to say that he has
revealed to me the ingenious mamier '" ^^'l^^^P^^IX^
been formed in order to terrorize me, and your inhuman
r^e?hod™f sending hundreds of innocent ones mto exile.
merelv in order to obtain my favour. . , .. __r.
-rhave never done such ^ thing P'cned the man
in uniform, standing at attention as his master spo.e.
" ^-'^Enfugh, "Taid the Emperor, in a loud comma„^^|
v^nirP "Hear me ' You are an assassin. You kiuea
^"brothS [he Grand Duke Peter with ywo.^
dastardly hand in order to hide your disgracef,^ tacti«.
You sent your own wife to her grave, and yoB p-id
your ca?spJw to kiU the Grand Duke Ki^hola. To-da^
there is a plot afoot to close the hps of rny mece ^d my
good friend Trewinnard I These are only a ^r:°\l^^
disgraceful crimes. N<i ; d" "°t attempt to deny them
brute and Har that you are. Rather reflect ^P^" * '^^
terrible fate of the thousands of poor wretches who nave
278 THE PRICE OF POWER
been sent to the Arctic settlements by your relentless,
inhuman hand. The souls of all those who have been
worn out by the journey and died like dogs upon the
Great Post Road, or in other ways have fallen innocent
victims of your plots, call loudly for vengeance. And
I tell you. Serge Markoff," he said, his dark, heavy brows
narrowing in fierce anger, " I tell you that I shall find
means by which adequate punishment will be awarded
to you. Here is your dismissal ! " he added, taking
the document from his table. " It will be gazetted
to-morrow. Go back to Petersburg at once and there
remain. Do not attempt to leave Russia, or even to
leave Petersburg, or you will at once be placed under
arrest and sent to the fortress. Go home, place your
affairs in order, and await until I send for 3'ou again,"
The Emperor had not yet decided what form his
punishment should take.
" But — but surely Your Imperial Majesty will allow
me to " he gasped with difficulty.
" I wlVl aUow you nothing — nothing ! You are my
enemy, Serge Markoff — a crafty,*^ cunning enemy, who
now stands revealed as a brutal assassin ! Ah ! I
shall avenge my brother Peter's death — depend upon
it ! Go! Get from my presence ! " he commanded,
and raising his hand, he pointed with his finger im-
periously to the door. I had never .before seen such a
look upon His Majesty's strong face.
And the man whose evil actions had spread terror
into every comer and ever}^ home throughout the
Russian Empire, thus receiving his sudden conger
slowly crossed the room, his head bowed, his face ashen.
He was unable to speak or to protest.
For a second he stood still, then, opening the door,
he passed out in silence.
THE PRICE OF POWER 279
Extract from the second edition of The Times issued
on the following day :
" From Our Own Correspondent.
" St. Petersburg, May i6th.
" A startling tragedy occurred just after seven
o'clock last evening in front of the barracks m the
Zaearodny Prospect in St. Petersburg, just outside
the Tzarskoie-Selo Station. According to the journal
Novosti, His ExceUency General Serge Markotf,
Chief of Secret Police, and one of the Emperors
most trusted officials, who had been to Tzarskoie-belo
for audience with His Majesty, had arrived at the
station unexpectedlv on his return to Petersburg,
and his carriage not" being there, he resolved to walk
down into the city. He had turned out of the
station, when he was foUowed by an unknown man,
who had, it seems, arrived by the same tram. In
front of the barracks the pair apparently recognized
each other, and, according to a bystander His
Excellency drew a revolver and fired pomt-blank
at the stranger, who next instant drew his ow^n
weapon and shot the General dead.
"All took place in the space of a few seconds,
so suddenly, indeed, that the stranger, who cer-
tainly fired in self-protection, was able to get clear
away before any of the passers-by could stop him.
The General's body was removed by the military
ambulance to his residence facing the Summer-
Gardens, and the strange affair created the greatest
sensation throughout the city.
"It is believed that the man so suddenly retog-
nized by His Excellencv must have been a prominent
Terrorist from whom the General feared assassination ;
but it is proved by an onlooker— a butcher who was
walking only a few feet from them— that His
280 THE PRICE OF POWER
K y^!^^ Pu'l'^^j"'® making every inquiry, and it is
be heved that the assassin of the well-known official
Will be arrested.
"Another curious feature in connection with
the strange affair is that the same journal in another
column pubhshes in the ' Official Gazette ' the an-
nouncement that His Majesty the Emperor on?y
two hours before the tragic occurrence dismissed
hi. favo^orite official m disgrace. No reason is
given, but it is rumoured in the diplomatic circle that
certam grave administrative scandals have been
discovered, and this dismissal is the first of several
which are to foUow. In fact, in certain usudlv
well-mtormed quarters it is persistently declared
that the whole Cabinet wiU be dismissed -^^^^"^^"^
'' The Empeix)r left with the Tzarina for ^Moscow
last evening. The Grand Duchess Nataha acc^m^
panied them, and Mr. Colin Trewinnard, of the
British Embassy, travelled by the same train."
Three months later.
and dlTst ^'""^ ^'^^^^ '"^ Russia-the month of drought
H^S?/' ^'''''' ^"^ 't*^'^'^ *^ ^^^ ^^ther's house
^.^l ' Tl' '^^''' ^^' P^^P^^^y ^^d her dead
mother s handsome mcome, which had been confiscated
^■1%^'^'^'- l^^ b^^^^eturned to her. SeveraTtTmes
both Her Highness and myself had visited her wSle
one auemoon she had been received in private audience
at Gatchina by the Emperor, who had sympathized v/^th
THE PRICE OF POWER 281
her and promised to make amends in every v/ay for
the injustice she had suffered .
The camarilla who had so long ruled Russia, pl^cmg
the onus of their oppression upon the Emperor, had
thanks to Nataha, been broken up, and a new and
honest Cabinet estabUshed in its place ^ ^or^nff' <.
Danilo Danilovitch, on the day followmg Markoff s
assassination, had telegraphed openly from Gemiany
to His Maiesty, announcing that he had nd Kussia
of her worst enemy. And probably that message
did not cause the Emperor much displeasure. It
was the carrying out of the old Biblical law of an eye
for an eve. And as the catspaw was beyond the frontier,
and the crime a political one, its perpetrator was im-
mune from arrest. .,
Five weeks later, however, the Supreme Council
of the People's \M11, held in an upstairs room m Greek
Street, Soho, and presided over by Danilovitch m person
heard from him a long and complete statement, m which
he described his audience at Tzarskoie-Selo and de-
livered the message sent by the Emperor to the K^^o-
"" Unanimously it was then decided to put an end to
all militant measures, now that the Emperor knew the-
truth and to trust the assurances given from the throne,
A loyal reply was drafted to His Majesty s message,
and this was duly despatched by a confidential messenger
to Russia and placed in the Emperor s owti hands—
a declaration of loyalty which gave him the greatest
gratification. , -, . +, ^lUr
Diplomatic Europe, in ignorance of what was actuall>
in progress, was surprised at the sudden turn of events
in Russia, and on account of the unexpected dismissal
of Ministers and the estabhshment of the Duma felt
that open revolution was imminent. From the clliciai
busybodies at the various Embassies the truta was
282 THE PRICE OF POWER
carefully concealed It was, of course, known that
General Markoff had all along been the worst enemy of
Kussia, and in consequence the Revolutionary Party
made open rejoicing at the news of his death. Yet
tne actual facts were ingeniously suppressed, both from
the diplomatic corps and from the correspondents of
the foreign newspapers. .
The entire change in the Emperor's poHcy and the
granting of many much-needed reforms were regarded
abroad as the natural reaction after the drastic auto-
cracy. But nobody dreamed of the truth, how the
f^^Tu f 1 ^^\\u''u^''^ "'^^ ^^^ ^ b^^i^n ruler,
had at last learned the bitter truth, and had instantly
acted for the welfare and safety of his beloved people
Many of the London journals pubhshed leading
aricles upon what they termed " the new era in Russia,''
attributing It to all causes except the right one, the
popular opmion being that His Majesty had at last
oeen terrorized mto granting justice and a proper
representation to the people. Exile of political prisoners
to Siberia had been suddenly aboHshed by Imperial
ukase together with the major powers vested in the
l^Zl f A^' 7^' '^^^^y ^^^ ^^^^ti^y ^f the home was
guaranteed, and no person could in future be consigned
Au'i^^^''-'' '''■ ^""'^^"^ without fair and open trial
All this, It was said, was a triumph of the Revolu-
tion. Journahsts believed that the Emperor had
been forced to accord the people their demand. Little
mdeed, did the world dream the actual truth, the
secret of which was so well kept that only the British
Foreign Minister at Downing Street was aware of it
tor by the Emperor's express permission I was able
to sit one day in that sombre private room in the Foreign
Orfice axnd there m confidence relate the strange events
he shadows of a throne, which I have endeavoured to
set down m the foregoing pages.
THE PRICE OF POWER 283
Since the day of the dismissal of Serge Markoft
with five members of the Cabinet, and the breaking
UD of that disgraceful camariUa which had surrounded
?he Sovereign, suppressing the truth, preventuig reforms,
a^dXg Holy Russia ^^^th a hand of iron the nation
tad indeed entered upon an era of financial and social
Dro.Tess Russia has become a nation of enlightenment ,
prosperity and industry, even, perhaps, agamst the
will of her upper classes. . , , j
I was present on that August day in the handsome
private church attached to the great Palace of Peterhof
knd there ^^dtnessed the marriage of Her Impenai
Highness the Grand Duchess Nataha to Richard Drury,
CoSnt of Ozerna. who had become a naturahzed Russian
subject and been ennobled by the Emperon
It was a briUiant function, for all the Ministers,
foreign Ambassadors and the whole Imperial Court,
including the Emperor and Empress, were present
The Court now being out of mournmg for the Grand
Duke Nicholas, the display of smart gowns, uniforms
and decorations was more strikmg than even at a State
ball at the Winter Palace. ., v t
Standing beside Captain Stoyanovitch I was ne^
NataUa, the incorrigible httle madcap of the Ro^anotts
when %^th her husband she knelt before the altar while
the priest, in his gorgeous robes, bestowed upon them
his blessing. And when they rose and passed out,
their handsome faces reflected the supreme ]oy ot the
triumph of their mutual love.
Some years have now passed.
His Imperial Majesty, alas ! lies in his great sarco-
phagus in Moscow, and the Tzarevitch reigns m his
stead But in Russia the Revolutionary movement is
no longer a mihtant one, for the people know well that
their ruler's aims and aspirations are those of his father,
and patiently await the reforms which, though perhaps
284 THE PRICE OF POWER
slow in progress, nevertheless do from time to time be-
come law and bestow the greatest benefits upon the
many milhons of souls from the German frontier to the
bea of Japan.
Ivan Hartwig, the Anglo-Russian, still lives on the
hf H A\ T.^'^'"'^^^/^ ^^ ^"^ S^^^^e^k' and is still
head of the Russian burete, and from him I only recently
heard that Danilo Danilovitch had been discovered in
Chicago, leading the life of a highly-respected citizen.
He had changed his name into Daniels, and was the
proprietor of one of the largest boot factories in that
progressive city Miss West has been pensioned and
remams in Brighton, but Davey, the English maid, is
^Liil m the Grand Duchess s service
As for myself-well, I am still a diplomat, and still
After service as Councillor of Embassy in Berlin
\\ashmgton and Paris, I was appointed by the late
King Edward his Envoy extraordinaire et Ministre
piempotentiaire to a certain brilliant Court in the
South ol Europe where I stHl reside in the great white
-bmoassy as chief of a large and briUiant stal
Sometimes when I go on leave, I manage to snatch
a w-eek or two with Count Drury and his pretty wife
at the orand-Ducal Palace in Petersburg, where they
live together m perfect idyHic happiness, and where
splendid receptions are given during the wmter season
More than once, too, I have been guest at their great
Castle of Ozerna a gloomy mediaeval fortress, near
Orel m Central Russia, to enjoy the excellent boar-
huntmg m the huge forests surrounding
.^d often as I have sat at their table, waited on
by the gorgeous flunkeys in the blue-and-gold Grand
Ducal hvery, headed by old Igor, I have looked into
Natalia s pretty face and reflected how Uttle the Russian
people ever dream that for the liberty which has recently
THE PRICE OF POWER 285
come to them they are indebted solely to a woman—
to the '^irl who was once declared to be an mcomgibie
flirt and who had scandahzed the Imperial family—
the little Grand Duchess, who, at the sacrifice of her own
ereat love boldly exposed and denounced that un-
scrupulous' and powerful official, Markolf the one-time
Chief of Secret Police, the man who had sacnhced so
many innocent lives as the Price of Power.
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